Our Child Care and Pathways programs provide the love and security that kids and young women at Laura’s Home need to thrive. But for teen boys who came to Laura’s Home with their mothers, finding connection and building relationships can be difficult.
One of our regular volunteers, Chuck is finding ways to bridge that gap through hands on, physical projects that teach young men important life skills. Forming relationships hasn’t been quick or easy, but the walls are slowly coming down. Chuck took some time to share about his experience volunteering with teens for National Volunteer Month.
When and why did you begin volunteering with the Mission, and in what capacity?Chuck: I started volunteering in the October-November 2016 time frame. I work with Pastor Leonard Tanks and the teens.
I felt God calling me to help after serving a breakfast one Saturday morning at Laura’s Home back in July 2016. My heart went out to those teens who seemed like they just needed for someone to come along side them and care about them, they are in a tough place by no fault of there own. I’ve raised 4 kids through this tough age, I’ve worked with youth sports programs for 25 yrs. and church programs for 12 yrs. in this age bracket.
Do you have any memorable moments from your time volunteering?
Chuck: The staff has always been very warm, welcoming & friendly. Ardi would always greet us with a smile and give us a ‘blessing’ as we left. Some of the teen guys will do the ‘shoulder bump thing’ (whatever that is). Makes me feel welcome and accepted, but some still have not ‘let down the walls’, I understand that. Trying to be a male role model to them may not be high on their list, considering they may have a tough relationship (if any) with their fathers.
Building the corn hole boards was a lot of fun, watching the teens accomplish a task, along with wiring up a light switch to a light bulb, celebrating their accomplishments with them. I have also enjoyed the games we’ve played and the teaching nights on Thursday, Christianity 101, sharing my heart and love for Christ with them.
What keeps you coming back?
Chuck: Over the past 5-6 months I think I’ve ‘grown’ on some of them and they have definitely become a part of my life. Once again, I feel God has called me to be the heart and hands of Christ to this hurting part of His world. To try and model Christ likeness to them while being vulnerable, exposing my shortcomings, my humanness to them.
What do you want people to know about what it’s like to volunteer with The City Mission?
Chuck: It’s always rewarding to give of yourself to others for their betterment, that’s what Christ did, right? If God is calling you, obey Him and leave all the consequences to Him. A great mentor of mine, who is now at home with the Lord use to say;