Friends, when it comes to fulfilling our mission here in St Louis, the following story from our Sr. VP of Programs, Allison Williams, just about says it all. These young people are becoming the change they wish to see in their own lives and in the lives of those they encounter in community. Thanks one and all for the leadership and support that makes this possible.
“We are working with two TOP clubs at an inner-city St. Louis high school for the first time this year, and the groups have begun to plan and identify their service opportunities this week.
As the facilitator, Anne, worked with them to brainstorm areas of need in their community, homelessness arose as an area. As their school is in the heart of downtown and near many homeless shelters and service agencies, the conversation turned to what they see around school, and what some of the needs of the homeless may be. As the conversation continued, one teen rose his hand and shared that he is actually homeless. While he is currently living in a group shelter, he described his experience, and what this has been like for him. Another teen rose her hand and talked about being homeless when she was six, and what that was like. Another teen described a family member who was currently homeless. This conversation continued, as they realized this issue has touched many of them and their family members in very real ways.
By the end of the group, they had clearly identified their community need, and will be working over the next few sessions to gain more information and plan their efforts. The group used ‘feelings cards’ at the end as their debriefing method. The young man who shared his current situation chose the feeling ‘accepted’. Anne asked him to explain why he chose that. He reported that he had never shared that information with anyone else at school, but now he had a place in his TOP club where he could. And, he’ll be empowered to do something to make a difference for others in the same situation. – Allison”
For the teens,
The TOPnet Team