Longtime Resident is ‘All-In’ All the Time In Kokomo Community
Writer / Julie Yates
Crystal Sanburn has it in her heart to be of service to her community. A lifelong resident of Kokomo, she has given back through work and volunteering. As the current executive director of Cross America Community Center, a non-denominational 501(c)(3) organization, she is enthusiastic about supporting the area’s non-profit programs. Sanburn is looking forward to being even more active towards serving the city in the future.
Sanburn explained her desire to be a force for good.
“Not everyone gets great parents, but I did,” Sanburn says. “I was brought up in a deeply believing home and had parents that loved me fiercely and mentored me. Later, I couldn’t have married into a better family. My husband, Dick, is one of eight children. I knew his mom before I met him, and I feel his parents, along with mine, have left an incredible legacy in the community.”
Sanburn graduated from Kokomo High School in 1985 and continued her education at Purdue University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and advertising. Over the years, she has held leadership positions as her career evolved. In addition, she and her husband raised three adult children: Nolan, Parker and Connor.
Each employment experience has enabled Sanburn to gain valuable lessons to benefit the community. For nine years, she was the public relations coordinator at Kokomo Rescue Mission. Following that, her job as operations manager for Kokomo Municipal Stadium was particularly enjoyable since two of her sons played professional baseball. However, when the opportunity to work at Cross America came to light, Sanburn jumped at the chance.
“I felt God led me to Cross America. It is a 25,000 square foot community center with a small inspirational shop and the Doubting Thomas Café. Besides its huge goal to send out a small aluminum cross and a path to salvation to homes across America, it helps other non-profits as well,” Sanburn says.
The facility has four large conference rooms and a 400-seat auditorium. The spaces are available for organizations to hold meetings and events. Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the building and there is a carry-in kitchen for use with the Event Center. Sanburn is particularly excited about the recent addition of a community podcasting studio.
“I always tape a Sunday morning news show to view later, and as I was watching, a fact came across the screen that there are more than 5 million podcasts broadcasted per year in the United States,” she says. “Probably a lot of them are being done in closets. People need an outlet to create these in a professional manner. To support the organizations in our community, Cross America has built a community podcasting studio for use with a donation, and every penny goes back to its mission. This initiative is possible because of community partners that sponsored it such as The Community Foundation of Howard County, First Farmers Bank and Trust, McGavic Outdoor Power, Matt Williams of Edward Jones, and Chariot Automotive Group and Berry IT.”
For the past 12 years, Sanburn has been a member of the board of directors for the Kokomo School Corporation. She was president of the board twice. The decision not to run again was made to enable another individual to have the chance.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to be a voice for a positive environment for kids, and be involved with redevelopment of the district. I learned to really listen and read the body language of others and developed so many positive relationships. It takes a lot of time; I was expected at all school events. When I am in on something, I’m all in! 100% I was fortunate to work with great people,” Sanburn says.
Feeling that she is called to it and that it is the next natural step, Sanburn is running for Kokomo Common Council. She is campaigning on the Republican ticket and hopes to represent District Six. Being elected would be an opportunity serve the community in a larger capacity.
“Being a servant is in my heart. I realize that there is more to this. It’s more political but I want to be a collaborator, be part of decision making and effect meaningful change. I am willing to be brave and stand up for what I feel is best by giving my opinion, in a loving way, for the greater good of our community with no agenda” she says.
“Kokomo is a resilient town, and the people are incredibly generous. They will stop what they are doing to help. Whatever the need is, it is always met by someone stepping up. Kokomo makes it easy to be all in,” Sanburn says.
For more information about Cross America Community Center, and its new community podcasting studio, visit crossamerica.net or the Cross America Facebook page. You can reach Cross America at 765-780-3090.