Some of the best things about walking on this Earth are the extraordinary moments that result from ordinary events. I have the opportunity to work with a great group of high school students three days a week. My duties each day include: mediator, snack-server, listening ear, and even proofreader.
Each day brings a new challenge and a new breakthrough so I always look forward to the next one. When the students are content they exude immense amounts of excitement. The consistency provided contributes to their comfort as well. Classes might be difficult and dynamics with friends may change but the After School Program has smiling faces and activities.
I feel particularly connected to the students because I can understand what high school was like. I am proud that they could be anywhere else but they look forward to “the church”. This moniker captures all that South Main is for these students. We are “the church” where students race to arrive. This is “the church” that students tell their friends about.
When I think about my vision for the program I hope to create a strong support system with resources and activities that students look forward to. I also hope that students can reflect on their time at the After School Program with fond memories. I also plan to reflect on the reminders of God’s presence.
Around 6:45 p.m. on a Thursday the last few students were headed out the door. I heard a combination of the phrases “Have a good weekend!” and “Bye, Miss Chelsea!” before one student said “God bless you, Chelsea.” I must have paused for at least ten seconds. He and I have never had a single discussion about God but I do not doubt his sincerity. The words seemed to linger in the air after everyone left. I smiled because the progress made is undeniable. This program exists for a reason and the students are grasping our mission of love. That day I received a blessing that I never expected: assurance. Every student may not have a strong understanding of what faith is but they certainly know that we care.