Building Community at Catalyst Circle Rock

My name is David Augustus. I’m originally from Louisville, Kentucky, but I have called Chicago home for the majority of my life. I have an ever-growing family here, filled with a wife, six children, grandkids and great-grandkids. One of the important things that I do is to serve in the community. I serve at church and at Circle Urban Ministries, which is a community partner of the Catalyst Charter Schools and Rock Church.

I became a part of the team at Circle Urban Ministries in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago in 1986. I met Glen Kehrein and he shared the vision on how to work directly in the community on reconciliation. When I started, we talked a lot about our “dream project,” which consisted of renovating the closed, run-down auditorium attached to our building into a true performing arts center for the community. When the Catalyst Charter Schools started to work alongside us, they shared our love of community building and dream of renovating the space.

Don’t get me wrong – our organizations are already really great right now. When Catalyst came in, they brought with them a special type of education model and love of music and the arts that I have never seen in our community. The teachers and the staff here all value relationships and build small, loving communities within each classroom. When I saw the great work they were doing here, I told some of my family members and they sent children to attend here and it changed not just their lives, but the lives of our whole family. You see, Catalyst encourages parents to come in and participate in a welcoming way. We have small events and it is normal to see immediate as well as extended family members come in for those. As for larger events, last month, Catalyst held their Fourth Annual Dads Take Your Kids to School day and we had just about three hundred men attend – it was awesome!

The auditorium space itself will be beautiful, but the physical space is secondary to the community that will be built there. The auditorium will be a place for all community members to come, learn, and grow. I am a part of the team on this project and serve on facilities.

When completed the performing arts center will be the culmination of a dream that we’ve had for the past three decades. We’re excited to use this venue to empower the community to take advantage of the beautiful space for a variety of events – from concerts, to recitals, to graduations, to weddings. It will absolutely give the community the positive energy and love that it needs.