Ordinary People, BOLD Lives

Ordinary People Bold Lives

Volume 6 | Issue 2 | Summer 2010

Ordinary People, BOLD Lives

Each year the first weekend in May brings a well-known series of events to Cincinnati. It’s the culmination of months of training for the Flying Pig Marathon. This year one runner had a bigger purpose behind her run. Some might say she had a bolder purpose.

Danielle Presley (BS ’99) ran the Toyota 10K Run on her own, then joined her teammates from City Gospel Mission’s Step Forward team for the Fleet Feet Sports 5K Run. She says, “I ran the 10 more on a personal level.” She wasn’t running the 10K simply because it is a great cause but because it raises money to support something she is personally tied to since her husband Jason was hit by a drunk driver in 2004. Since his death, Danielle estimates that she and her team have raised $25,000-$30,000 for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

Jason lived a BOLD life. When asked what she wished people knew about Jason, Danielle said, “Jason was a ‘David’ — a man after God’s own heart. I loved that he had this unique combination of being a ‘warrior’ and a lover of beauty. It’s like he could go wrestle a lion, and then come home and write a poem about it. He was a man’s man and yet had a gentle heart.”

It was Jason who got Danielle involved in City Gospel Mission. As a couple, they were committed to serving at-risk inner city youth. Since Jason’s death, Danielle has remained both a donor and a volunteer. “I feel like I get to carry on what God was already doing through both of us,” Danielle says. “I enjoy getting to love people in the city and getting to do what I can to maybe make somebody’s load a little lighter or their life a little better.”

One of the runners from City Gospel Mission’s Step Forward team was Crystal Kimble, a 20-year old psychology major from Cincinnati Christian University. Danielle began mentoring Crystal when she was a 16-year-old inner city youth looking for guidance. Four years later, the mentor relationship continues, and it couldn’t be stronger.

“I met Danielle when I came to LifeSpring Christian Church, and the next thing you know, she was my mentor,” Crystal says. “I instantly knew Danielle had my back. She called all the time checking in on me. I was in and out of things that I shouldn’t have been doing. She helped me in school and with friends. She has my back with everything. She’s one of my best friends.”

While it may seem simple, this mentor relationship has been stretching for both. Danielle says, “I love the joy that I get from spending time with Crystal. She is such a beautiful person—it’s an absolute privilege to walk with her as she grows more and more into an amazing woman.”

Crystal says, “It isn’t always easy saying no. It’s a pride thing. You used to stand up for yourself, so it’s hard to let someone else stand up for you. I’m like a kid to Danielle. She always says, ‘That’s the motherly side coming out in me’ when she gives me advice. When I talk about guys, she asks a thousand questions before I even get to mention the guy’s name. She cares for me like a mother cares for a daughter. I see pride from her as she sees me make healthy choices.”

Before coming to CCU, Crystal was involved in things that she knew she shouldn’t be, but nothing had challenged her enough to want to quit. Crystal’s family started out going to church, but eventually most of her family members quit going. Crystal kept going with friends, but her life was not where it was supposed to be. One day, while sitting around with some friends smoking marijuana, she told herself that the only way she was going to give this up was if they got caught by the police. Almost immediately after thinking that, the police came around the corner. Crystal says, “I knew at that point I had to quit.”

When it was time to decide on a college, there were a few in the running. “I had wanted to be a veterinarian,” Crystal remembers. Crystal told Danielle about her college choices. Danielle wasn’t thrilled with the options, but she went with Crystal on college visits anyway. When they finished the visits, Danielle wasn’t impressed. She challenged Crystal to at least visit CCU and see what she thought. “I had always thought I’d like to go to a Christian college, but I didn’t know there were any in Cincinnati. Danielle really wanted me to try it. And I took her word for it because I take her word for everything. It’s like God already knew what I wanted to do and had a plan for me.” Crystal began to see this new plan for her life and how she could help others, something else she had always wanted to do.

Not only did Crystal decide to come to CCU, but she became a part of the Charles and Penny Faust Urban Scholars program. Two of the main requirements to be eligible for the Urban Scholars program are that students are from the inner city and they must be the first people in their family to attend college. For Crystal, simply going to college was a BOLD decision. Crystal says,”What I like about CCU is that I feel like I am getting closer and closer to God. I love how the teachers are nice, and they actually want to help you.”

Danielle and Crystal are ordinary people. But by taking one glance at their lives, it is obvious that there is something different about them. Something bold about the way they are choosing to live. These two didn’t just train for the Flying Pig Marathon together. They are training for life. Danielle’s life is turning out differently than she had thought, but she says, “I’m running the race. I really want to be done with worry in my life — finished with it. I want to live without fear. I want to pray more and live in absolute trust. I want to believe that what God has planned for my life is better than what I can plan for myself. I’m striving less and surrendering more.”

Learn more about CCU’s Urban Scholars Program.

by Beth Rogers
Manager of Bookstore Services