The first things you notice about Karen Crosby are her love of family, consistency of mission, and the fact that no matter what she is doing, it is all for the kids.
Karen is founder and executive director of The Locker Foundation in Georgetown. The Locker is a student service organization run by kids to help kids.
In 2008, a group of student athletes approached Karen with an idea to be more than just athletes. They wanted to help fellow students who were in need. What started out as a modest effort to help support a sense of normalcy has grown into a non-profit foundation that no longer grows by schools, but by entire districts.
Karen’s “project” has long been a part of the fabric of Georgetown, and is an integral part of our schools. Over the past 12 years, The Locker has expanded outwardly—there are now clubs in 12 ISDs across Texas—but also has grown within, adding layer upon layer of assistance, scholarships, and anticipation of the needs of kids as they navigate the milestones of young life.
”As a child, like so many kids we help in The Locker,” Karen says, “there was very little at home. I lived, first-hand, the struggles of being raised by a single mom. I saw how hard she worked, and yet there was still so little to live on. I was like so many of the kids we help, everything looks fine from the outside, but what is actually going on at home is a much different story. Like so many, I hid it well. It taught me that you never know what is going on behind closed doors. In The Locker, we are helping students learn to be brave by asking for help, and teaching others to help their fellow students without judgment.”
Like their mom, the whole Crosby family works for and contributes to helping kids; “We all have big ideas and enthusiasm and we are passionate about helping others.”
Making it Real
Karen is pleased to have moved into The Locker’s own offices. “Being under our own roof has brought greater recognition and ease of working with groups outside of Georgetown. We have a replicable model, and as a foundation rather than a school organization, we are able to work with other ISDs under their own umbrellas. This growth step enabled us to be better about establishing groups in other school districts that have different protocols and needs. I can look at a school like Jarrell, where students have different lifestyles and needs, and customize a plan and a program that will be best for them.”
Kids Helping Kids
The mission of The Locker is to help kids with any kind of need. They do not have to qualify, they just need to ask. “We still collect and purchase soap, socks, and other basic needs. But many students have other financial challenges for which there are no programs. The Locker responds with money for Life Enhancement. “AP testing costs close to $100. Sometimes families cannot pay this fee after the student has completed the course. We also purchase dozens of caps and gowns each year for graduating Seniors. No kid should have to miss out on those things.”
Not only does The Locker support kids in need, it empowers and educates its members through service learning to meet the needs of their peers so every child has a sense of normalcy; whatever that ‘normal’ is.
Karen says, “It’s hard to come to school if you don’t feel clean, or dressed appropriately, and a little compassion goes a long way. One student was in trouble because his pants were too low. He didn’t need counseling or punishment, just a little help to buy a belt! We can’t teach them or reach them if they’re not in the building.”
For the future, she says, “We will always try to grow the program; every school we add just shows us there is more need. It’s such a simple model; we don’t have to build the whole playscape, just put a tire swing in the tree and push it.”
To volunteer (regardless of your age) or donate, visit thelocker.info
2020 Celebrity Golf Tournament
Monday, April 6 • 9am Registration • Cimarron Hills Country Club
This second annual event is open to the public and every team includes a celebrity member. Hosted by Green Bay Packers’ Mason Crosby, duffers will spend the day with familiar Locker heroes like Daytripper Chet Garner, SWU Coach Joe Austin, WWE Wrestler Dustin Rhodes, and many more current and former professional athletes. There are also a few famous faces and voices from the entertainment world to round out play.
Players can expect a full day of fun; cart, food, swag bag, after-party, and a lot of shenanigans that Karen says will qualify your day as “golf-ish!” Among the 18 holes, golfers will have opportunities to kick field goals, bowl strikes, and as a topper, a chipping contest for which the winner will receive a <1-carat rough diamond.
Even if you don’t play golf, you can still join in. Everyone is invited to the Clubhouse Par-tee at noon for facials, wine and cheese, shopping, and massages. No reservations needed, and all are welcome to watch golf after the pampering is done.
Proceeds from the tournament will fund Life Enhancement donations from The Locker, as well as helping the foundation expand operations to new schools. Sign up at thelocker.info.