Monday, September 23, 2002

As many of you know (unless I am lucky and have random readers I do not know) I help run a tutoring and mentoring program through my church called Books and Basketball. We help the kids in some of the 'disadvantaged' neighborhoods, about half are members of our church and half not. They all have difficult circumstances. Some live thier parents, some not, some with just one. Some have been abused, or in gangs or on drugs, or not. But all have a 'sad story'. I started with the program last January and have loved it. I do often come away feeling inadequate or incompetent, but I still love doing it. It is good work to do. I had my own students, 2 10-year-old fraternal twins, that suddenly stopped coming. I think due to something going on at home. But I have found a new number and spoke with them and thier mother and they are coming back this year. Anyway, the past year was very difficult, mainly due to the lack of consisent and dedicated tutors/mentors. We did have a handful, but not that many. We also really needed more guys, to help our teenage boys. They just connect so much better and have more fun playing basketball at the end of the night with guys that can really play with them. So we worked really hard to generate interest, bringing in some kids and tutors (already members of our congregations) and a few services revolve around Books and Basketball (BB). That took a lot of work and planning and worry. We also planned a training that we did last Thursday. Again, a lot of work and stress. I was especially nervous because I had to be the 'keynote' speaker and talk about our goals for the program and the scriptural message and things. I had a lot written down and more swimming around in my head, and I just had really hard time making it cohesive and express what I wanted to say and how I felt. I just prayed that I would say what needed to be said and needed to be heard. The following is an excerpt from an email to a friend, that explains just how well the training went. We were and are so amazed. It just really exceeded our expectations and it was just so touching that so many people came to find out what we do and to volunteer. Some people are new to the congregation and some have been around for while. A few already volunteer, but to have that many people willing to make an effort is wonderful. Here goes:

Training went so incredibly well!! All our prayers regarding that were answered and then some. It was so awesome. We thought, realistically, that 25 people would show, maybe. So we made 50 packets on the upside that we would need to hand them out over the course of the year. 70-75 people were there!! How awesome is that?! It was really amazing to see that much interest and the number of people who were willing to help and/or commit to being a full-tme year round tutor. Simply amazing. And apparently my ‘speech’ went very well. Kristy was so cute about it. She called me while I was driving home to say she had been telling her mom about it and realized she hadn’t told me. She said it was beautiful and the most profound thing said that night and that it really brought in the right spirit and set the tone..etc. Sorry. Had to toot my little horn. I just prayed that I’d be able to say what needed saying. You know how hard that was for me to write. So I am just so grateful that it worked out that way and so impactful. I was the first major speaker so it had to go well. We had some short ‘this is my experience’ people talk, and a few activies and going over mentoring and the responsibilities and telling them about these kids and some of their challenges. I wish I had done it earlier honestly, but I think I came in at just the right time. And the one major ‘position’ or whatever that we needed was someone to do the food each week. And this girl comeds up to me afterwards and says she is in one of the younger,college-age kids congregations (we have 2 for people out of college/gread schhoola nd w2 for college kids..that many people)…and asked it if was still okay that she come and that she would love to do the food. We didn’t’ have to ask or seriously I was going to turn her down because she was too young or something. It was awesome!

Also, though..and this is annoying but not really connected to the program at all. So I go to my car to come to training...and it has been broken into, again! Nothing taken (nothing to take of value,but at least bruno the bear was still there (he saved the car!) and my maps and mixed tapes, including yours!)…the door is dented, and it was ajar and the car was beeping about it. And the trunk was not shut all the way, but nothing to take back there either. The ignition is screwed up somehow…the key won't fit in all the way. I am so blessed that my car is hard to start! They clearly tried to take it and were not able to. But I am taking my car into midas anyway because sometimes it doesn't start the first time anyway…so they are going to look at it. I reported it to the police and my insurance. But if it will cost less than my deductible to fix it than I wont’ process a claim, that is just a pain in the butt.

But here’s the thing. I bet getting my car broken into is a good sign of thing. When I went to interview here my car was broken into and that clearly went well…and last night went really well…so whenever I have some thing really important and my car is broken into, I don’t have to worry

Since then, my car's problem with the key has resolved itself, although it now needs to go into the shop overnight so that it won't start for the mechanics. That means that I cannot get to Natalie's party that I was invited to, but maybe someone will drive me (and Pat, who was also invited).

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