Now that I have a few months of Church Hill in my back pocket, I’m even more confident this move was absolutely the right one for me.
It has been such a pleasure to get to know the various kids that I interact with throughout our weekly programm-ing. These kids are generally between 3rd and 8th grade. And the ways I get to know them are so varied it keeps my days pretty interesting: I co-lead a tutoring site, teaching classes after school, co-leading a discipleship group, visiting parents at home and cooking for our students.
I feel incredibly fortunate to be working at a place where my passions and interests all intersect!
Even though it sounds cliché, the most rewarding part of my job is indeed the relationships I have with the students, particularly when we end up spending time together outside of formal programming.
There is one such 3rd grader, Soniya, whom I have been particularly blessed to get to know, and spend some time with, particularly on a Saturday in late November.
For the past 3 months or so, Soniya and I have been skating (technically longboarding) after church on Sundays as her mom chit chats and her other siblings play.
When I first skated to church, all of her siblings tried out my board, but Soniya was the only one who stuck with it week after week.
By November she was actually quite good! So, since her birthday was the previous Tuesday, I decided to take her out on a Saturday afternoon to go skateboarding at a local unused tennis court and then go out for ice cream.
Hanging out with Soniya was such a fun and fairly new experience for me, and it’s a great example of how formal programming can give way to authentic relationships that go far beyond the after-school hours. Indeed, that might be one of the most desired outcomes of youth-centered programming of any kind.
To this day, Soniya asks me when we’re going to go skate again!
A few other residents including myself have gotten to know the rest of the Loftin family, and it feels great to experience friendship, share wisdom and enjoy positive time with that family.
Overall, these last few months have been a transition from getting used to my role here to embracing my respons-ibilities and seeing what I can add to each of my duties. I’m very much looking forward to the rest of my time at Church Hill Activities and Tutoring to see what more God is doing my the life of the students as well as on my own.