WAS ALL THE WORK REALLY WORTH IT?
With your help and support, we were able to offer the gift of service to those often time are looked down on, and forgotten.
The world appears to be a grim place and Chicago is still stands out the mind of skeptics. Not to worry though, when we have friends like you standing with us in support of our mission to help make our City proud.
As we reflect back, the view shows there's much more work to do in our City and for mankind. We’ve been asked, was all the work really worth it?
This past year, there was a young man that normally stops by our office on his way home from work to buy a snow cone. This young man used to be a rival gang member and drug dealer. He got a job at a McDonald's in the far south suburbs. He would chat about his commute to and from work. However, his chatter regarding his commute was not that of complaining, but was instead him describing how much he liked working the long distance from home because it gets him away from all of the crap in the City. He still carries a gun.
We told him about our program, but he has yet to attend a workshop.
We became somewhat friendly with this young man, and looked forward to seeing him walking down 87th street coming from the el station. Soon after, this young man candidly opened up to us about why he used to lead the life he did, things he did while living that life, and why so many others still do. He also intimately opened up to us about his upbringing, his mom who is a recovering drug attic - now residing in Florida, and his dad who he barely knows. Sad. He also opened up to us about his joy of being a dad.
We would offer him words of encouragement and sometimes a little tough love by telling him the appropriate way to wear his hat and pants, the way to conduct himself in public, and ways to get ahead in his career path. Not surprisingly to us, he followed our advice, because that's part of his inner quest - structured discipline. We would oftentimes see him from a distance straightening up his hat and pulling his pants up. We would pretend like we didn’t see. Some days when he stopped by, we knew he wasn’t really stopping by to purchase a snow cone, it was his way of coming to class.
Anyway, as the season changed for cold, we noticed a decrease in his visits, which soon came to no visits at all. We wondered, did we loose this kid; did anything happen to him, where could he be? We had to catch ourselves. Had we become too emotionally attached to this kid, were we too involved?
Some would say, you can't save em' all. We don't care what they say, because if we can save 1, we've reached a milestone. And no, we didn’t care too much; this kid had become a part of us, and a part of our mission.
One day as we were closing up the office, low and behold who did we see in the horizon coming from the usual direction on 87th street, with hat straight and pants up. Hallelujah! We had to keep our composure, kind of like when you have a kid that you told not to stay out past curfew, but shows up at 2 am. Yeah, that feeling. Your first thought is to fuss and let them have it, but deep down inside you’re really glad to see them. You can say we had a moment.
Afterwards, we dug into him. We asked him where the heck had he been and what the heck was his problem not checking in with us?!!! Who did we think we were, right? The nerve of us talking like that to this ex gang member and drug dealer, who probably still carries a gun. Hope not.
We’re the community that care about people like him and hope to make a difference in his life.
He responded like a "typical kid" and accepted the scolding. We told him not to ever do that again, gave him a hug, and told him we loved him. We asked him did he understand?! He nodded his head and said yes. He had been in Florida visiting his mom, his real mom (smile). He also got a new and better job (smile again).
A local Judge once told us to take our program to the street because people need it. I guess we did.
We continue to advocate, that when children are raised properly, they will more than likely act properly. The key to solving the violence issue in Chicago is assisting parents and guardians with raising their children.
To view our 2018 workshop schedule is click here. If you know anyone that could benefit from our services, please direct them to us. If you would like to help us help them, that information is here too.
Continue to help us show them what our City really is, a fine place with fine people.
Was all the work really worth it? Yes, and still is.
Thank you again for your continued support.
The Given Chance NFP