Former Staff Brings Fresh Ideas to BridgeBuilders

When CW Allen came on staff 10 years ago at the tender age of 22 to lead the high school YoungLife program, little did he realize how integral Sunshine and Woodlawn would become in his life.  Joel Hamernick would end up officiating his wedding to his wife Jacqueline, staff would become some of his dearest friends and supports as he grew his music career, and they would later rally around him when he lost his father.  Two years ago CW felt his time in his role with youth had come to an end and he focused on growing his Christian hip-hop career and touring the United States and internationally. He based his music business out of his Chicago home in Woodlawn and remained connected to Sunshine.  He was regularly invited to speak to BridgeBuilders groups and when the opening for a part-time coordinator position opened, it seemed a natural fit with his passions and experiences.

The 14 Spring Break groups that are heading to the Woodlawn neighborhood this spring can expect to experience CW’s creativity in new curriculum and experiential learning.  “Over the past 5 or so years I’ve learned that I love communicating creatively and helping start new things. This new role allows me to scratch those itches.” Tim Baldwin, Ph.D. joined us last summer as the Director for BridgeBuilders. CW shares, “Tim has given me a lot of freedom to create and think through ways to expand the BridgeBuilder program. I’m really hoping that BridgeBuilders can become a natural connection point with members of our community.”

CW shares that both he and Tim are passionate about seeing the conversations of stereotyping, race, and faith move forward and delve more deeply into what healthy biblical racial reconciliation looks like.  Tim further opens up saying, “My heart is deeply burdened for the churches’ response to poverty, race, justice, and immigration. I love how the BridgeBuilders program marries several of my passions- teaching and learning, intercultural biblical hospitality, and racial/economic justice.”  

Tim Baldwin, PhD hosts discussions with Wheaton College students.

Groups coming in the spring and summer can expect fresh new curriculum and experiences. Every week the groups will have a live concert from a Chicago artist as well as a new History-of-Woodlawn tour. Local chef Tiffany Williams will be making all the meals and groups will visit a local Woodlawn restaurant on the last day.  A mixture of service projects, discussions, and immersion into the neighborhood allows for a deeper connection for those participating. The experiences are curated to allow for authentic interaction and engaging the community in sustainable ways.  

CW is particularly excited to be teaching a new lesson based on the movie Black Panther. “In this lesson we get to explore the richness of the epic marvel film “Black Panther”. After watching the movie, students and I get to talk though the evolution of black actors in cinema and examine why this movie did so well in the box office.”

If you are interested in learning more about the BridgeBuilders program, please feel free to contact Tim at

CW Allen is now serving in the role of BridgeBuilders Coordinator.