From Church Hill, In Church Hill

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When you know your name, you should hang on to it, for unless it is noted down and remembered, it will die when you do. Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

It is with joy and excitement that I am writing to you today. The last year has been one of laughter and joy and transformation under Gods will. I have been learning and understanding the power of serving the Lord and being a neighbor in my community; it has been a time of learning and listening for me this year as a Teacher at Tiny Tykes Preschool. 

 

So much has happened this year that has shown me how amazing and powerful Gods presence in this community is. 

The new site location for our preschool is also one of the oldest historic African American churches in this area. We have partnered with them to use their former day care facilities as our Preschool site. Since being in this new location I have had so many awesome experiences that only the Lord could show me. 

 

I have seen children who could not say their name or spell it, come to me and say Mr. Remmie, I can spell my name and then astonish me by spelling it in that soft special way only a child can do. 

It made my heart cry, to see that I was actually making a difference in these children’s lives. 

I recall one of my most recent experiences; I was doing my morning bus pick up and one my students suddenly vomited he was crying and he was hysterical. I simply took him closer wiped him down and told him it would be okay. When we arrived at the school I took him to the bathroom and cleaned him up I asked how he was feeling and made sure he was doing well. I got him to laugh and smile; we sat on the couch in the school waiting room and read books and watched a cartoon on my smartphone. 

When his mother arrived to pick him up I explained to her what happened and that he was okay. She said, “He doesn’t look sad and sick.’’ I said, “I must be pretty good at my job.” She gave my arm a rub and said, “You really are, thank you so much for taking care of him.’’ That moment was special to me because it wasn’t a sweet cozy story. 

 

That was just a story about being an honest teacher and doing my job — caring about the kids under my care. 

These are the kind of moments I like to write about because they are not the glamorous moments, they are the realistic life moments that I took on when I decided to be a part of this organization and be a part of this journey that God has placed me on.

But please allow me to be honest. Church Hill is a unique place built on an amazing and ageless African American culture; it also a place where family has always been the key element of life. 

 

My father, my grandfather, my grandmother — many branches of my family tree started here in Church Hill. For me as a black male, it is a wonderful experience to return, work and live in the place my family members of old once called home. 

So when you read this, know that you are hearing the words of someone who knows this area, these streets, these corners, and knows the beauty and positivity that this neighborhood has always brought and knows that I am here as a teacher for CHAT but also as a black male who is happy to teach and love and guide the next generation of youth in this area of Richmond, Virginia.

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