June is a very busy month with year end parties and high school graduations. The end of high school, for many teenagers, is not always as exciting and joyous as most people make it out to be. For many of the youth we work with, high school is one of the only constant and stable places they have in their lives. Home life isn’t always easy and school has been a place for them to leave that behind and try to get away from some of the brokenness at home. While it can be a very exciting time handing in your last papers, buying your grad dress or tuxedo and hoping someone will ask you as their date to grad, the excitement can be lost behind the real anxiety and nervousness of what is to come. When I graduated it was a happy time and even though I didn’t have an exact plan I had people in my life supporting me.
I really wanted to do something special for two teenage girls who were graduating this year because I can empathize for the changes that are to come. I wanted to make these girls feel loved and relaxed before their big day. I was really struggling with taking these girls to get manicures, as the cost is not always cheap. After some thought I decided that something so simple celebrating change as getting your nails done is really special. This is the part of my job where I get to be the adult and fill a void that many of these girls might not get to experience. There is nothing actually unique about getting a manicure, but it is supporting them in the journey through graduation. The amazing part is seeing their faces light up when they look down at their finished nails. It is a time where they can feel pretty and loved like they should be feeling everyday.
As the summer starts we are lucky to have a couple programs and events running throughout the months to keep us busy. There has been a lot of interest shown by the youth we work with in the Alpha Program. Alpha is a video series that engages youth in discussions on faith, life and Jesus. Along with Alpha, I will be taking part in Gator Shades - a four week program designed for youth going into high school that need extra help getting adjusted.
This will be my last newsletter for the summer months so I look forward to sharing with you in September about how everything went. I am so close to reaching my goal of two days a week as a staff member with Youth Unlimited after my summer grant with the government is over. If you or someone you know are interested in joining my team as a volunteer or partner please feel free to get in contact with me.
- Savannah Deepwell