Each year, Rotary of Atlanta West End takes one of our weekly meetings on the road to visit Booker T. Washington High School, the site of our club-sponsored Interact Club and beneficiary of District Grant funds and many other Rotary volunteer endeavors. This year, the meeting was catered by Washington's culinary program. The service, presentation, and quality of the delicious lunch could compete with many of Atlanta's most well-reviewed restaurants. Chef Larry Alford is making an impact as he prepares Washington students for careers in the culinary arts.
CJ Stewart presented Mr. Tony Cruvie as our speaker of the week.Tony’s a long time West End resident, graduate of the Atlanta Public Schools, and businessman. In 2014 he established Cruvie Clothing Company to promote community pride, build the community's reputation, and connect people … its tag line: The thread that connects us. Now celebrities wear Cruvie clothing; Tony’s “repping” neighborhoods throughout the U.S. As an Atlanta phenomenon, his line shows “the South has got something to say." It actually promotes Atlanta worldwide. Tony has had strong support as a child from his parents and his teachers.In high school he began to understand what was important and started to prepare for a way to get into college, using his football prowess. He graduated with a degree in Computer Information Systems from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. His college experiences taught him marketing and after a stint with a marketing company, he went to work for Triumph Motor Cycles of North America, assisting in marketing. In his late 20s he stated the Cruvie Clothing Line as a side career with no money, except for what he had saved and through credit cards, still maintaining a full time job. Not having a wife and children helps him focus on the business. Nevertheless, starting Cruvie has represented a big jump of faith. He’s had to be very careful with money. Tony’s very thankful for his dad.Tony’s dad as a kid picked cotton and discovered that the only way to move his life forward was through the military, so he joined the U.S. Air Force, eventually retiring after 26 years; he now works for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. His mother is a seamstress. His mom and dad are role models.Tony credits them for always being there, being the anchors many kids do not have. His goals for Cruvie Clothing center on building a stronger business structure, raising capital to grow the business, focus on product improvement, and better marketing. He’s also stressing more support for all kids, especially black boys. He says their well-being begins with the family, but way too many lack consistency and suffer mentally and even physically because they are too much on their own. He knows many have talent and skills but lose their way because no one is there to guide and direct them. He’s so thankful that CJ Stewart takes on kids and shows them what they must do to be safe and successful. He says so many black boys have great ideas and goals, but need strong adults to stay close to them with direction and consistent support. He says everyone needs that.