Judge Craig Croom, who is in the midst of his second term on the John Rex Endowment Board of Directors, speaks as he drives from Wake to Johnston County to hold court as a Special Superior Court Judge. This job, which he describes as “perfect” for him because it allows him to travel every week to a different courthouse, also underscores the reason why he joined the Endowment.

“My job means that I see the end result of many people’s lives in the courtroom,” he pointed out. “I want to go back and fix what brought them to my courtroom in the first place. That’s why I signed on to be part of the Endowment, to learn how we can work with other nonprofits who are out there trying to give young people better choices.”

Judge Croom paraphrased Bishop Desmond Tutu as he said, “We need to stop pulling people out of the river and go back upstream to keep them out of the water in the first place.”

As a father of two children ages 17 and 20, he sees champions for children as those who find real solutions to building a guardrail at the river, to continue the metaphor. “Champions are fighting to get to the root of the issue so that we can effect real change. They are the real grassroots folks touching real people and they have credibility in the community. I want to see the Endowment lifting these champions up to be even more effective. That’s both a great challenge, and a great opportunity.”