Yesterday’s post was about some of my experiences living in the ghetto as a missionary for three years. Today I want to tell you about my daughter Mary, who took up the mantle when she grew up and for the past thirteen years has faithfully worked with disadvantaged kids. She has done a far better job than I ever did.
She set up a non-profit and recruited volunteers and holds weekly meetings. But that’s just the start. She has devised an elaborate system of “paychecks” for kids who work hard, takes kids to summer camp, holds art, cooking and drama classes, gives out school supplies in the fall-and for some reason the activity that brings tears to my eyes-she takes her kids every year to see the ocean.
Why is that such a big deal? Because the kids have never seen the ocean and I think kids should see the ocean. They should watch seagulls wheel overhead and hold a tickly fiddler crab and run down the shore flying a kite with the breeze in their face.
The young man in the pictures is a success story. Zay was nine when he started coming to meetings and he was a handful. His mother was dying and his father had not long to live. He ended up in foster care and Mary tracked him down and drove a long way for a long time to bring him to meetings.
Through many trials and much mentoring, he graduated from high school, then went on and graduated from college and is now working for Child Abuse Prevention.
My daughter does not, as I did not, see the kids as problems to be fixed. We saw them as kids-who just need to be connected to certain resources. What they do with those resources is their business. You see what Zay, who started out with many strikes against him, did with those resources.
Lots of Zay’s out there. Not only is it right that ALL KIDS have a chance, the world itself loses when young lives are just tossed away.
Because a kid should have a chance… And see the ocean. 🙂