Friends and Family
I found this summer went by quite quickly for me.
In July, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Gator Shades program run at Walnut Grove Secondary School. This program is set up as a transition piece for students in grade 7 who are entering into grade 8 in the fall. Elementary schools work to identify some students who will likely be lost or struggle with the transition coming into a large school (1900+ students this year). The students then apply to enter this program that is run by the school with a few teachers and supported by Youth Unlimited. The program combines some practical pieces, such as learning their way around the school, how to use a lock, where their classes are, etc., with lots of fun activities. Activities like out trips to the Circus Lab, Salmon farm, a rescue animal farm, mini golf, as well as art projects and activities hosted by us. It also provides a setting for the students to learn and grow socially, making new friends before the first day of school.
Personally, this allowed me to be set up as one of the five people they know well coming into September, and offered me the chance to fit in a whole year’s worth of relationship building and investment into the space of 3 weeks. Amazing! I loved getting to build those relationships and especially look forward to being able to find them at the school this fall and continue investing in them.
I also was able to take part in working at a drop-in centre in downtown Langley called the Youth Hub. The Youth Hub is essentially Langley’s first collaboration of youth services - a place where “any youth in our community can find acceptance and care: medical care, substance misuse counselling and prevention programs, care from a family physician or nurse practitioner, mental health counselling, family education and support programs” (taken from their website). I have loved spending time here because it is a community partnership that works directly in line with where my heart is: real connections and real life problems. The conversations aren’t glamorous and usually look quite messy with the reality of broken families, homelessness, abuses, or having to work full time at the age of sixteen. What is encouraging is that I get to be there and help them process the messiness of life and show them that Jesus legitimately cares about what they are having to go through.
Thanks for journeying with me. Really.
- Jon Pue