Wednesday night was my last night at the Family Empowerment Center. The kids in my class were so sweet as they planned and put together a “party” for me. It is so funny the ways kids scheme and think. Last week they were reminded that the next week was my last night and at the end of the night before dismissal I could hear a few of the kids whispering about doing something for me. An adorable and full of energy boy named Levy said loudly “we should bring stuff really special…like Cool Ranch Doritos.” How precious is that? One of the leaders made cupcakes and some of the kids brought cookies to share. Many of the kids also made me cards and signs chalked full of warm wishes, funny drawings, and misspellings. My favorite is pictured and includes me with the blue scarf I always wear and my new haircut.

A few weeks back the kids in my small group (about 12 of them) earned a reward for completing a challenge that had lasted for about 3 months. The reward was that they all got to vote for what treat myself and the other leaders would bring in for them. I was thinking cupcakes, cookies, pizza, ice cream sundaes even. No, the kids all enthusiastically cast votes for hot wings with “extra ranch” as Levy and Giovanni added: gotta love urban ministry!! They happily devoured their hot wings and celebrated their achievements. They even decided to share with another class (an added bonus that made me so proud of them!).

Jason and Annikah joined me for my last night to finally meet the kids I had been hanging out with every Wednesday night. Anni was predictably enraptured with the older girls walking around holding their hands most of the night and protested loudly when it came time to leave.

Being there every Wednesday required work, preparation, prayer, patience, and getting over my laziness and apathy many nights but I am so glad I was committed and made it a priority. It is such a blessing to think I was able to impact these kids lives in such a small way and in return they blessed me a ton! here is to hot wings with extra ranch, cupcakes, and cool ranch Doritos!


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