I never once imagined that I would end working with kids. I played teacher as a kid but I also played doctor, super hero and WWII spy. ( In a way it’s understandable to see why I enjoy writing fiction so much!). But working with kids as a career? NOPE. Or at least that was what I believed. Until I met my friend Mary Ann who works with Greater Miami Youth For Christ in a program called KIX ( Kids in Christ). It is an afterschool program (among several ) that reaches into a few neighborhoods throughout Miami. Through my friendship with Mary Ann, I started to volunteer off and on over the years. Helping out with homework or being there for the teen program on Friday nights.
Last year though, I was offered a position as staff. It was an answer to a prayer, a second source of income and feeling the God moment in it. Have you ever had a moment where there was no hesitation to say yes because it just felt right? This was one of those moments for me. I knew I was going to say yes to this and I began work with the second and third graders three days a week.
Let me tell you something, it has been the hardest job I have ever had but by far the most rewarding. These kids they just get into the heart. One in particular reminds me of myself. She has a bit of imagination and I see the story teller emerging in her. I get her, I was her at her age. I lacked confidence in my abilities with Math homework ( and I’ve only just begun to encounter this Core Math stuff too). Working each day with my girl is one of the highlights of the day. Seeing that moment when she gets it, especially after fighting hard for the answer is a victory. Her victory.
I have been told that God qualifies us for the work He needs us to do. This is why this time in my life could not have been planned by myself. I did not feel confident in being able to do something like this in my life. But God is greater than my doubts. This is where my trust in Him comes in for my life. Trusting Him in this place has been a huge lesson for me. I’m still learning and I’m not the greatest every day but there is grace in this work. As I learned a few years ago, work is worship and worship is work.
The desire and heart of Greater Miami YFC ( and YFC nationwide and international) is to reach the youth. Kids and teens in communites of all kinds bringing the love of Christ into their lives. The neighborhood that we minister in is one of the largest Habitat communites in the country. It is a tight knit community that often has dealt with crime and violence. A few weeks ago a young lady was shot in the face by her ex boyfriend waiting for the school bus. She survived but she may lose her right eye.
This is the reality of what these kids deal with day in and day out. But by being able to come to KIX afterschool or for teen events gives them a respite. It gives them a place to point to and say there is safety and love inside that building. I am grateful to get to be part of it. To plant seeds of hope in Christ and loving on these kids. I look forward to the next victory my girl has this coming week.
I would love it if you could dear reader take a moment to click on the link for Greater Miami Youth For Christ to learn more about what we do in our vast city. Perhaps you would like to get involved with your local chapter or even donate to KIX ( just look for my name under the donate tab). Most of all I would like your prayers for this neighborhood and many like it through out our country. For these kids to find a place of hope and love in the name of Christ.
Dream chasing is not for the faint of heart. There is no movie montage that speeds through your journey. Your dream may take twists and turns you did not for see. You may need to hit the pause button at times because life intervenes.
The days that are hard and frustrating are the foundation of your dreams. Getting through them motivates you to continue onward. You will be faced with learning about yourself, where you excel and where you do not.
Lean into all that. Learn and grow. Adapt to what may come change the original plan. Pursue your dreams. Keep on keeping on.
I am. I do. I try.
I am a dreamer.
I am a doer.
I am going to try my best.
Writing is hard. It has been said before. Finding the right words can be difficult. Whether it be a blog post, poem or story. It is hard because my heart and soul goes into what I do.
As frustrating as it can often be, I do not give up. Writing words, expressing myself in this way is who I am. When I write, I feel a kinship with those who came before me. Those writers I grew up reading, ones I am discovering now who are my comrades in words.
They understand why we keep going back, to writing despite how difficult it can often become. How mentally exhausted I feel getting through a difficult passage or plot point. There are days I want to quit.
But I cannot. Writing is ingrained in me.
Just because it can be hard or uncomfortable does not mean I should stop.
That is when the good stuff is just starting. Pushing through the difficult passage or figuring out a character is worth the struggle. Because something is hard, does not mean it is impossible.
Writing is hard, as it should be.
Above is an example of my potential copyright warning. The other day I was texting back and forth with my web designer and bestie about my upcoming website. I was asking her about my copyright warning. Something I had not really thought about previously. The possibilty of someone taking my work and putting it out there as their own. Plagarism abounds out here in the vast internet does it not?
Every artist is influenced from those who come before of course. These influences however, should be properly credited by notating the source of said work. When proper credit is not given, the person stealing the work is saying “I don’t want to take the time to actually create my own work so I will just take yours.” It should be flattering I suppose, stealing my words for their own gain. But it is far more flattering if my words are properly credited.
The fact that I have to consider this possibility is new for me. It means that my dream of making my living from writing is becoming a reality.
But I cannot allow myself to go nuts by this either. Those that I discover using my work and passing it off as my own will be notified to stop. A few may get away with it but their theft of others’ work says more about them. It says they do not want to do the work. That they do not believe in their own talent and abilities and so take from others. While they may get away with it for awhile, at some point discovery of thier lack of ethics and talent will be discovered.
Through it all I will continue to plug away. Honing my writing skills the more I work. Those that prefer to take what they did not create will not grow in any way. There are no short cuts in this writing thing. A lot of it is working , sweating with each keystroke. Some days the words just flow and others its easier to start cleaning the house. At the end of the day, it is worth all the effort, frustration, dead ends and clean houses. Because it’s what real writers do. Write.
Posers seek the glory but what they fail to realize is that the real glory lies in the finished work. They will never experience this until they honor their talents and write.