A few weeks back we had one of those mornings in YoungLives ministry where I just sat back and thought, “Wow, how did I get the privilege to be a part of all this?”
We were celebrating the YoungLives volunteers at an Appreciation Breakfast. A time where for just an hour or two we get to invite them in to sit, eat, share stories. To try to express to them how much EVERY single one of them play a part in the ‘whole’ of YoungLives.
Here’s an excerpt from what Myrna shared that morning:
“Running games, dressing up in bacon suits, mentoring, changing poopy diapers, setting up, taking out trash, cooking meals, serving dinner, giving rides, teaching parenting classes, sending texts, decorating, purchasing supplies, teaching craft, visiting new babies, fundraising, showing up, attending meetings, planning, sharing your stories, inviting, folding baby clothes, welcoming, praying, loving on babies, designing shirts, baking, picking up donations, delivering diapers, finding carseats, opening your classroom, advocating, pursuing, sharing resources, picking up snacks, lesson-planning, showing up early… are just a few of the things that you all in this room do to make YoungLives possible.
You my friends, are the heartbeat of North Orange County YoungLives.
Colleen, Adrienne and I we get to be on staff but we have such a huge admiration for all of you because we know, in part, what all of you guys do and it is crazy!! Together you are a part of something beautiful that is resulting in teen after teen, child after child knowing that they are loved, that they are important, that they are worth it, and that there is a God that loves them! You guys, you all are telling them this story through all that you do- through the many sacrifices that I know you make to be a part of this ministry. Your dedication and commitment even when life happens, as it does for all of us, amazes me!
So as I led up to this day feeling like I could not possibly express how big of a deal your commitment and sacrifice is I thought of one way that maybe I could tell you— and that was asking some of our past years girls how the PEOPLE in this ministry have impacted who they are today. I asked all girls that were from 5+ years ago. The reason is this, I know that you guys, what you did this year, it is going to impact those young families for 5 years and beyond. And you know what surprised me the most, some of the girls that had the littlest involvement from my perspective had the biggest things to say…
I want to share a couple of their quotes with you….
“The one thing I will never forget about the YoungLives volunteers is that they were always there to give us a helping hand. Making us feel wanted and that we were someone in life not just some teenage girl that got pregnant in middle school or high school. It helped me become the person I am .. Now I just want to be someone that helps others and be there for others”
“YoungLives had one of the biggest impacts on my life because I didn’t think people who knew so little about me could care so much about my well being and my son. God used young lives to open my heart and show me how to accept love/help and be loving/helpful to others.”
“YoungLives for me was one of the best things of all. Even though I wasn’t there for a long time but I learned a lot . One of them was a connection to God. As a new parent and specially when your a teenager is very difficult you feel like you’re on your own and you don’t have anybody there to communicate but once I went to young lives a change my life in a way that I saw that I wasn’t alone there was also plenty of people that are going through the same thing and they change my life until this day because I am still connected to God and I teach my kids about God and He made me a better person and a better mom and I am very grateful for YoungLives.”
It has been an amazing year! We have seen girls grow, we have many that are excited to go to summer camp and they have no idea what is about to hit them, We have done a full school year being on campuses at 3 high schools, we hired a new staff person-Adrienne, We have walked through some hard things, welcomed new babies in to this world and it has been quite the ride!”
If you’re thinking about volunteering with YoungLives, just do it…come check out the ministry opportunities at our Fall Kick Off happening on Saturday, August 17 (you can register here). I really believe you’ll be asking yourself, “how did I get the privilege to be part of this?”
~Colleen Drew, Area Office Admin