Winston Churchill once said, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” I was at a youth conference years ago when I heard those words repeated and they have stuck with me since. It was a constant reminder that we have a chance each day to set up ourselves and our world for a bright future. The change and the hope that we push to the forefront of our lives to reveal to others carries with it much merit. Like many, I crave purpose and want to know that what I am doing makes a difference. For that reason, I have made it a point to keep that mentality posed by Churchill at the heart of the things I invest my life in. I want to have a bright future, and likewise I want the generations to follow to have a fulfilling and bright future.
One of the simple ways I was able to invest in the future lately was volunteering at a local school. One of our Westside Kids ministry workers is a teacher there and after hearing more about her passion to see kids succeed in life, I asked if I could come in and serve alongside her to bless the class. She works at Seattle’s first charter school in the city. This particular charter school is both an educating school and social services agency for children and families struggling with the risks and realities of homelessness. Their school provides Pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade education for traumatized, abused, or homeless children. For the families, they provide wrap-around social services to stabilize their housing and end the crises which put them at risk of homelessness. This school seeks to break they cycle of poverty and homelessness.
It may seem odd to volunteer at a school where I have no kids (because I don’t have kids at all) but I found it valuable to give my time and energy to invest in a crew of kids that my teammate was investing in daily. One of my younger nieces currently attends a different brand/style of Charter School back home and I know that if I lived there still, I would offer the same services to the teachers there. It was an honor and blessing to work with this particular crew of kids and to serve my friend/their teacher in some simple but impactful ways. I walked away with such a positive experience and a renewed passion for the younger generation!
I am looking forward to volunteering in her class once a month and getting to know everyone better. Her kids definitely think, behave, and feel differently than most kids I’ve worked with in the past, but to see them grow beyond their limitations is exciting. One of the kids in her class particularly has severe learning and behavioral disorders so they have a special aide that stays in class to assist with that one child. Still, their classmates cheered on when progress was noted and made sure that that child felt loved and included. It was also so sweet that the classroom kiddos were asking questions about the kids that go to our church—if we do crafts, what we do to have fun, and if we have church every day. While these kids may never get a chance to darken the door of our church in Ballard, I do love that they get to experience the love of Christ through their daily interactions with their phenomenal teacher, Ms. Reddy!
What about you? Have you ever volunteered at a local school/community center/church? If so, what was your experience like? If not, what has been holding you back?