RTI Mission Partner Spotlight: CrossWalk Center of Houston

CrossWalk Center of Houston
3 min read

At Refined Technologies, Inc. (RTI) we believe eternal purpose fuels excellence, and one of the ways we live that out is a commitment to building stronger communities, locally and globally.

In this commitment to community, RTI is proud to call the CrossWalk Center of Houston -- a nonprofit that supports the successful and sustainable reentry into society for men who have been imprisoned – a true “mission partner”.

“RTI is dedicated to a culture of caring,” explained Heather Broeder, RTI's EVP of Community. “Our mission partners, such as the CrossWalk Center of Houston, are very important to us, and cut to the core of our company’s DNA and how we operate from a sense of eternal purpose.”

Far from “lip service”, RTI’s bond with the CrossWalk Center extends to the hiring of employees (called Artisans in RTI terminology) via the nonprofit’s second chance employment program.

“Their passion, humility, and commitment to excellence inspire us daily,” said Cody Nath, RTI President and CEO, who is a CrossWalk Center emeritus board member.

CrossWalk Center: History of the Heart

The genesis for the CrossWalk Center can be traced back to Pastor Joey Gentempo’s establishing of “His Father’s Heart Ministries” in 2001.

Gentempo’s experience as a Harris County Civilian Chaplain and as program director for the Prison Fellowship IFI Program at the Carol Vance Unit near Sugarland laid the cornerstone for what eventually would become the CrossWalk Center.

“He saw first-hand the dire need for stability for the formerly incarcerated and their families through meeting their day-to-day practical needs,” says the CrossWalk Center’s history.

Gentempo’s career and life experiences exposed him to the crying need for faith-based mentoring inside, and aftercare counseling and discipleship outside the prison walls.

While the spiritual needs were being met through the ministry, it became evident to Gentempo that more was needed.

“He observed that it was physically hard for recently released citizens to take advantage of many services due to their limited access to available transportation,” says the CrossWalk Center history. “That’s when he began to speak openly in churches across the Gulf Coast region about the need to have a location where both spiritual and practical needs and services could be found under one roof.”

Beginning in the fall of 2014, a regional Development Team composed of members and volunteers from Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Missions Committee, First Presbyterian, Grace and WoodsEdge churches, along with His Father’s Heart Ministries, met to begin building upon what Gentempo had envisioned.

By 2016, CrossWalk Center, with a home at 2103 N. Main St. in Houston, was a reality.

CrossWalk Center Mission, Vision, and Five Core Values

The CrossWalk Center operates with a mission of “advancing God’s Kingdom through seamless re-entry discipleship.”

The nonprofit’s vision is:

  • For Clients: That every CrossWalk Center disciple will live Jesus’ promised fuller, greater, richer life – never returning to prison.

  • For CrossWalk: Develop scalable, reproducible best practices in Seamless Re-entry Discipleship that may be effectively implemented across the US and beyond.

The CrossWalk Center preaches Five Core Values, which include:

  • Love: Love is the greatest blessing received and the greatest commandment given.

  • Integrity: To live with integrity is to live honestly before God, ourselves, and each other.

  • Excellence: We intentionally do the right thing to honor God and strive not for perfection to honor ourselves.

  • Service: As the Spirit continually serves and ministers to us, we serve and minister to those He has called to our lives.

  • Truth: The Word of God is our source of truth for life.

How the CrossWalk Center Re-Entry Program Works

The CrossWalk Center re-entry program includes three phases based on the best practices established by re-entry analysts and researchers:

  • Upstream: “Steppin’ Out” voluntary 40-week or less character development and re-entry discipleship which occurs inside Texas prisons and state jails for individuals within two years of parole eligibility.

  • Upstream: The second part of this phase, “Startin’ Out”, is a pre-release care plan development with a coach and is for individuals that have a positive parole board vote and have completed the “Steppin’ Out” or other re-entry programs such as Kairos, Jubilee, and Bridges To Life.

  • Midstream: Reunite with “Startin’ Out” coach and meet with the CrossWalk Center team. Day 1 services include:

o   Transportation to Hub

o   Meal (First Supper)

o   Clothing

o   Orientation

o   Transportation to approved home address

  • Midstream: The second part of this phase includes one-one-one coaching for a minimum of six months after release. Coaches encourage individuals as they implement their realistic Re-entry Care Plans. Coaches also serve as accountability and prayer partners to support the individual on the road to self-management.

  • Downstream: This final phase includes five transformational discipleship homes (which house up to 75 residents) where clients live and begin transitional jobs within 14 to 40 days after release based on their pre-release Re-entry Care Plan. Skill training certifications are available through Houston Community College System, SERjobs, and Lone Star College, as well as workforce development and job readiness through WorkFaith Connection, SERjobs, and the City of Houston Community Reentry Network Program.

Volunteering with the CrossWalk Center

The CrossWalk Center says, “it may sound cliché, but it does take a village, an entire community of collaborators, coming together for the sole, unified purpose of positively impacting citizens journeying from prison to community re-entry.”

Volunteers are seen as an extension of staff, helping CrossWalk Center to fulfill its mission.

“We are committed to the active recruitment and retention of dedicated volunteers with the qualifications and the heart to serve inside and outside the walls of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice,” says the CrossWalk Center.

Access the CrossWalk Center volunteer application online here.