Greenbriar Children’s Center has a 68-year history of making a profound difference in the lives of Coastal Empire area children, and many of them eventually return the favor. One such beneficiary of the organization, Jermaine Crosson, 26, still lives by the lessons he learned at Greenbriar and employs them daily in his professional life as a mail carrier and his personal life as a father.
As a symbol of his gratitude, Jermaine and his U.S. Postal Service co-worker, Brandon Orr, also 26 and a previous Greenbriar resident, have started a holiday initiative to ensure children currently in the organization’s care receive Christmas gifts. And no one understands the meaning of this gesture better than Jermaine and Brandon.
Jermaine became a resident of Greenbriar Children’s Center’s emergency cottage at the age of 13. He eventually moved into the residential cottage, where he stayed until he graduated high school at the age of 18. During his time there, Jermaine met Brandon, who also resided at Greenbriar for several years. The two became friends and supported each other as they progressed through Greenbriar’s programs and learned valuable life skills. They kept in touch and, years later, are still best friends, according to Jermaine.
Thanks to the education, care and attention the two received at Greenbriar, Jermaine and Brandon now enjoy successful careers as productive adults and have committed to ensuring similarly happy outcomes for children who are now where they once were. “Greenbriar taught me skills and put me on the right track to become a father in that they showed me practical things, like how to set up a bank account, get a summer job, making sure we understood how the real world works and that education is important. Everything is not given to you. I now try to work hard and give my girls any and everything I can,” said Jermaine, who has three daughters, ages 1, 3 and 6.
Last year, he and Brandon came up with the idea to rally their postal service co-workers to donate and collect Christmas gifts for young Greenbriar residents. The two dropped the presents off at Greenbriar and delighted in the knowledge that they were helping to make the holidays brighter for children in need. Their efforts were successful, so Jermaine and Brandon have decided to expand on the initiative this year.
“In 2016, we just asked for gifts and donations at the Bingville Post Office on Montgomery Street, where I work. But this year, we’re trying to get more post offices to pitch in. Eventually, we’d like to get all the post offices in Savannah involved. Last year may have been the first year, but we’ll continue it each year and try to grow it,” Jermaine said.
Greenbriar Children’s Center Executive Director Gena Taylor said she was touched by Jermaine and Brandon’s generosity and willingness to give back to the organization that has come to the rescue of so many at-risk children over the years.
“Seeing Jermaine and Brandon grow into adulthood, achieve success, work hard and reach out to others in need is incredibly rewarding. We want nothing more than for the children we help to develop emotionally and physically, take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them, and enjoy healthy adult lives,” Taylor said. “Not only have Jermaine and Brandon done that, but they’re committed to making sure they children who walk in their footsteps do the same. It warms my heart.”
Jermaine is happy to be in a position where he can give back. He understands his life could have turned out very differently had he not found his way to Greenbriar.
“I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for Greenbriar Children’s Center. Jermain said. The mission of Greenbriar
Children’s Center is to promote the healthy development of children and the strengthening of families by providing services that include an emergency shelter, runaway/homeless, residential care, independent living, family preservation, early childhood education & care, as well as Project Safe Place.
For more info. please visit www.greenbriarchildrenscenter.org./