When a child from hard places begins blessing others, restoration has begun for the whole community. In our neighborhoods initiative, we all thrive when there is a two-way stream of giving and receiving. Here’s one story of restoration.
Andrew was nominated for Valencia Park Elementary’s (VP) mentoring program where he met Gaby, our director. As a new mentor, Gaby, jumped into building trust thru playing soccer with him after school. It was during these casual times she learned more pieces of the puzzle of his life. He is the youngest of four children being raised by a single mom struggling with cancer, life is hard for him.
During the holiday season OC United matched his family with a business who provided much needed beds for him and his family.
Gaby soon invited his family to church where they met other families and found support and friendship.
When summer came, Andrew served as a junior leader at SOLFul, a month-long summer camp at VP. Normally fifth graders aren’t junior leaders, but because Gaby, was directing, she made an exception. Andrew, who was used to only receiving from others was standing taller now as he was being looked up to as a leader by the other kids. Not only did Andrew get the chance to serve, but both of his sisters also jumped in and filled important volunteer rolls leading a team of 25 children throughout the day. Currently, Andrew attends our United Kids After-School Program twice a week where he greets every volunteer with his contagious smile and looks for ways to help the younger kids with their homework. From hard places to being a blessing, this is where the road to restoration leads.
By Donna Whitman Director of Neighborhood Development