My story starts with a Taco Dinner, fabulous conversations, and a community I just had to be a part of! David and I were invited to have dinner one night and hear about a ministry called Hope Street that was a “Greenhouse for People”. Being a teacher, I was intrigued by this interesting label and what it meant to the people involved with Hope Street. Little did I know, the person that would “grow” the most was me and the “waterers” in my life would be a bunch of awesome kids and special members I’ve met along the way.
After eating dinner, we were speaking with Ashley about ways I could get involved. She mentioned tutoring and right then and there I wanted to be a part of this special place! I committed to Wednesday nights every week. Since I was no longer in the classroom, this was going to fill up my “love for teaching” bucket and I was all in! If you have ever worked with teenagers before, you know you must build their trust and show them you’re real and committed. How was I going to do that??? Bribery of course!! I will make cookies and bring snacks!! That is how I will get them to come!
3 years later, I still bring the cookies and snacks, but the tutoring has turned into a lot of laughter, loud and competitive UNO playing, and sharing life together. We share music, dancing, artwork they’ve created and dreams they have. There are many talented people at Hope Street! I also love when other members pop into Room 7 as they are walking by to say hello and grab a cookie! I truly love these people! And when a few have moved out of Hope Street with their parents, I bring them back in with me each Wednesday! Haha! Our little group is special and each one is special to me. We have a “space”, a place, and a time to be together. (As I get sentimental, they’re probably rolling their eyes right now as they are reading this!!)
Tutoring and playing UNO has turned into summer swimming and fishing times at our house twice last summer. Everyone at Hope Street is invited! Some swim and tube, some fish, and others enjoy relaxing in the sunshine. It is a great day to be all together. I can’t wait to plan this again next year! We tried to have a Christmas party, but COVID rules delayed that until 2021 unfortunately.
I have met so many wonderful people! People that have inspired me to be a better individual. People who have conquered and persevered through really hard times and attained their goals. People who have given to others in need even though they themselves have needs as well. I’m the blessed one each Wednesday! The Greenhouse is fertilizing me and strengthening my roots to become the person God wants me to be. I don’t do anything special or have any special talents, I just show up and am present. You can too!!
(Hope Street Volunteer)