Hi there, my name is Rob Kraus, I am one of the current and proud board members here at Crossing Thresholds. I wanted to share some insights and memories from my experiences with Crossing Thresholds that have been life changing moments for me, my dad and now my daughter Bradlee.
Three generations of Kraus’s have been involved with Carter and most recently CT, spanning 25 years. Wow 25 years! Time really does fly when you are doing what you love and are extremely passionate about the work you are doing. The first generational story begins with my best friend and mentor -- my dad George Kraus. Prior to Carter’s work at CT, he was doing work in Nicaragua (building schools and homes with an organization he had founded called Bridges to Community). My dad had very little idea of what to expect and honestly thought he had made a big mistake traveling with Bridges until he was so moved one night when the homeowner of the mud hut he was staying in, seeing him in discomfort, took her own children’s clothing and sewed the last of what she had and placed it under his head as a pillow. Make no mistake – one person can change a person’s life.
Upon his return to the United States, my dad was so fired up and inspired that he insisted I experience a trip and see for myself firsthand the power and goodness that these trips can have on one’s life. I must confess given the choice between skiing in Aspen versus doing construction in a foreign country with the poorest people in the world, I was quite reluctant to give up one of my 2 weeks of vacation. But I decided to give it a shot. To say the least, my 1st trip was one of the most eye opening and memorable experiences of my life.
Fast forward 25 years and a dozen or so trips later, I find myself deeply motivated by the life lessons I have learned -- not only from the guidance of my dad but also the overwhelming experiences I have had the privilege to experience. As a result of the impact on me, I decided to follow in his footsteps and become a CT board member to continue his legacy. They say on these “mission” trips that you came to help others (which is, of course, true). However, I’ve come to find out the person who benefits most from these experiences is ME. Without fail, I always come away from a CT trip feeling renewed and refreshed and with such appreciation for the little things in life we take for granted. I see air conditioning, a hot shower, safe drinking water, and food to eat as a true blessing. All the while, the people of Kibera can take none of these blessings for granted.
Several years ago, I felt like it was time for my daughter Bradlee to experience a CT trip for herself. As the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, you can only imagine how proud I was as a father to watch her immerse herself headfirst into the culture and loving every second of the experience. She has made lifelong friends on our adventures together and I will never forget after our 1st trip she said, “Dad, you have to promise me right here and now without exception that this will be a trip that we will do together every year.” Well, we have stayed true to that promise and Bradlee and I have been back 4 times together keeping our promise to one another.
Recently, Bradlee announced to me that she signed up for ELI which is better known as the Emerging Leaders Initiative. My heart was filled with joy as she now plans on furthering the Kraus legacy. I am so incredibly proud of her that it brings tears to my eyes. So, there it is, 3 generations of Kraus’s doing what they are passionate about and living the mission of CT working to make a difference in the world.
The gift is change.
Crossing Thresholds Board Member