Anika Waterman - Co-Founder & Executive Director
Christian Waterman - Co-Founder & Development
The Watermans first met in 2013 at the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights on Eastern Parkway, right at the corner of Rogers Avenue. Anika attended the church throughout her childhood, participating in the youth choirs and ministries.
On this fateful day however, it was Christian's first time visiting the church, at the prior day's invitation from the Assistant Pastor Rev. Dr. Daryl G. Bloodsaw (now head pastor). Then a member of the New York Times, Rev. Bloodsaw was moderating an event when he struck up a conversation with Christian about the church. Realizing that First Baptist was just a few steps away from his Ebbets Field home, it was a no brainer.
The message struck a chord with Christian and on this first day, he made the first step toward the Lord and walked up to join the church. During the earlier welcome portion of the service, Anika and Christian's paths crossed for the time, where she instructed him: "don't leave without seeing me." Forward.
Hardly a love note, Anika only wanted to see Christian in order to invite him to join Higher Praise, the church's young adult choir. Christian passed, saying that he didn't sing, although he has been annoying Anika with his singing ever since.
Anika's life changed forever on January 24, 2014 when her father passed. Just friends at the time, Christian became a consistent presence helping Anika through this traumatic transformation.
Though they grew up just three blocks away from each other in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, it took 19 years for The Watermans to meet. One mutual neighborhood site for both Anika and Christian growing up was Jackie Robinson Playground, the park directly adjacent from Ebbets Field Apartments.
Anika frequented the park with her family, hanging out and playing basketball. Her love for the sport led her to become manager of the boys basketball team throughout her four years at high school at Cobble Hill.
Christian was hardly a baller growing up, opting to display his love of the game through NBA video games. In fact, he was obese throughout his childhood. It took going away to college in Massachusetts to help him transform into a healthier lifestyle, and he’s gone from weighing more than 250 down to 170 over the years.
So, Christian hit the jackpot, finding a soulmate that had no problem spending hours in the park watching the guys play basketball. In fact, she loved it.