Anyways, we went to eat some Mexican food (shocking) and then saw Invictus. I loved the movie, and may have cried a few times (But I'm guessing that was a result of the following factors: stress + lack of sleep + hormones + extra babies in the household + jealous jayci. Just guessing though).
At one point in the movie, Morgan Freeman (aka Mandela) tells Matt Damon (aka the rugby guy . . . whatever his name was) that for success, "we must all exceed our own expectations." And I couldn't help thinking about the kids we work with. Because not only do most of their teachers, friends, and the world at large, expect most of the them to end up with babies/dealing drugs/on welfare; but often times we are discovering that's all they expect of themselves as well.
The sad truth remains that 90% of African American Youth are living with one parent; 3 out of 4 people on welfare can't read; More young black men from their neighborhood go to prison than graduate high school; teenage pregnancy is concentrated in inner-city and rural areas; But for most of these kids, all it takes for them to overcome these odds is for someone to believe in them. And then to come alongside them and convince them to believe in themselves as well.
Because breaking the cycle IS possible. And I have to believe in myself too, that we ARE making a difference. Honestly? It's been a knock-down, flat-HARD week. Teenage girls are NOT my strong suit. Add in two babies and lots of activities, working, cleaning . . . and I'm bone-tired right now. Not to mention discouraged because we've been bombarded with lies and manipulation with a few of the families we're working with.
But thankfully, we are not doing this for man, for a very big God who knows just when we need encouragement. So in case any of you are doubting that we are making a difference, or that you can make a difference, I thought I'd share a quick story of change and hope.
One of the little girls we work with (Nene. And, well, she's 13 and anything but "little") has a father in prison, and literally has to act as mother to all 4 of her younger siblings. I mean, she calls home to check on the babies when they're with their mom. Nene was one of the first kids we matched with a mentor, and her mentor is absolutely fantastic with her. She's faithful, fun, and gives her the chance to enjoy herself and be a kid every once in a while.
While we were watching Invictus, Nene's mentor sent me a text saying that Nene's dad had just called her from prison. He thanked her for everything she's doing for Nene and said she had inspired him to be more involved in Nene's life when he gets out of prison. Now, that's what I call exceeding expectations on all fronts. What a blessing and encouragement to Nene, her mentor, and to us. Just when we needed it the most.
Oh and one more thing I learned from the movie: Rugby is totally confusing and