Oak Cliff Event Promotes Community, Strength, Hope

Community leaders showed some Dallas teenagers the path to a successful career Saturday. The hope is that those teens will go on to have a great impact on a neighborhood plagued by crime.

The path to success doesn't always come with a map. A group of teenagers from Oak Cliff is being pointed in the right direction.

"I think ideas will be sparked," said Taylor Toynes, who founded a community center five years ago in the neighborhood he grew up in. I think passions will be created."

Toynes called the place For Oak Cliff. It is just that, building community through education and advocacy. The event held there had a theme, "Sewing in the Community." It's symbolic, not only because participants learned how to sew, but because of the threads -- that bind generations there.

"What's powerful about sewing in, is when you sew something in, you become a part of it," he said. "You become part of the fabric. Part of the community."

The event combined brands like Reebok, the footwear and apparel maker, and national footwear and athleisure retailer, Hibbett Sports. Other local partners took part as well, all tied together by the fact that for them, Oak Cliff is home. Those successful African-American business people and entrepreneurs are role models for teenage participants.

"It's a lot of pressure being a role model for the kids," said Terrance Lee, who along with friend Kenneth Reeves co-founded the urban media and creative marketing brand Good Culture. "But it's pressure that you welcome."

The connection is hands-on. And it delivers life lessons.

"A book is only going to give you so much," said Lee. "A hands-on experience is going to give you an experience you'll always be able to recall."

To many, the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas is known for its issues, including crime and poverty. These entrepreneurs focus on the strengths of their neighborhood -- paving a road to a better future.

"In spite of it all, we always thrive," said Toynes. "We have strong faith and hope."

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