We all need prayer and grace during this season. Ever since the Coronavirus became a thing early this year, we’ve all been discombobulated to some degree; some more than others. We’ve all found ourselves in similar yet different circumstances—dependent upon various factors related to age, income, health status, education, access to resources, housing, support, exposure to accurate information, and much more. As we continue to plow through as best we can—moving by faith and not by sight, let us always mindful to place ourselves in another’s shoes!
Many of us are walking by faith…literally. Some of us have colleagues, family and/or friends that have personally suffered from COVID-19. Others have been impacted by employment issues affecting their family income, which can affect so many other dynamics—including one’s mental and emotional well-being. Some have been so traumatized by the ongoing issues of injustice against persons of African descent that the fight for justice and change have become almost as significantly important as eating.
At our virtual learning hub—taking place at our community development center, Hope Place, on any given day students show up hungry, tired, and/or not knowing what they need to do for their classes. Some of those students had not logged on for any NTI instruction prior to coming to Hope Place, which was already several weeks into the first grading period. Those students are extremely behind and we are working hard to get them caught up. But some live in single parent households where it is difficult to make ends meet. Some of those parents speak very little English and it is difficult for them to assist their children with their homework. I was helping a first grader recently who said he was wearing his dad’s shirt—not because he wanted to, but because he had to. You can imagine how big it was on his little body. When one’s physical and emotional needs are not met, it makes me wonder where learning falls on their hierarchy of needs scale.
When working with the students and talking to their teachers, I get the sense that everyone has a bit of anxiety right now. Nothing is working the way we would like it to. Some teachers are having to manage their own children who are learning at home while also trying to teach their class. That can be more than just a juggle. After-all, quite a few daycares have shut down over the past months, and still a lot of parents are hesitant about taking their kids to daycare due to the threat of exposure to COVID-19. With such a lack of normalcy and so much uncertainty, it is possible for us to lose sight of what God might be up to. It is also possible for us to lose sight of ourselves. Let us always remember who sits in the Captain’s seat, and let us extend grace to one another.
II Corinthians 13:11 tells us: “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” (NIV)
In the midst of the struggle, we do have good news to celebrate! Our In-School Mentoring is up and rolling in Oldham County with seven schools granting permission to have in-person mentoring and two other schools have agreed to allow virtual mentoring. Greater Clark County Schools have been allowing mentoring to occur virtually and we have recently received clearance to have in-person meetings as well. Please pray for Jefferson County as we have recently received approval to start virtual mentoring.
Another piece of good news – We just wrapped up two more eight-week sessions of our Juvenile Diversion Program in Jefferson and Oldham counties! We’ve had several challenges (mainly technological) facilitating these sessions virtually, but nonetheless we put our all into them! Please pray for these youth as our hopes are always to empower them to make wise decisions going forward.
Last but not least, please pray for our Hope Collaborative Staff, Volunteers, and the youth we serve. Please cover our schools, students, families, and administration as well. Proverbs 15:29: “The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” (NIV)
The things that we are facing now may seem overwhelming and an impossible task. But this world has enough resources to overcome some of the major issues we are facing. For example, the world’s 2,150 billionaires are collectively worth $10 trillion — that’s 30 times the amount needed annually to end extreme poverty.
Stay on your knees in prayer and take action where you can. Offer grace and compassion to those who need it – not only during this difficult time, but at all times.
Peace & Blessings,
Aubrey R. Williams
In-School Program Coordinator