We Are Not Alone

Christmas Hampers that were collected and given to families over Christmas 2020.

I’m sure not too many of us were sad to close the curtain on 2020. And here we are now, taking a tentative step into 2021, wondering what’s in store. 

I’m Kari if we haven’t met, and since I stepped into the YU community this fall, we’ve been in a continual time of waiting and adapting.  

How is YU even connecting with youth these days, you might find yourself asking? It may look like a walk outside, or an online discussion for comic book club. It could look like a doorstep snack delivery for a movie night, streamed together, but watched in separate homes. It looks like a mask-to-mask conversation over the lunch hour. If anything, this time has challenged us to hold our plans and dreams for the future loosely, to be creative as we think of ways to connect and to be all the more attentive to how youth are really doing.  

For me, it wasn’t until December when I got to leave the office and go to the school to join Amy & Jon for career presentations, that I got a glimpse into how some of these youth are really doing. During the presentation, students are asked to anonymously write down some of the hardest things they are going through. The room was heavy with all of the struggles, anxieties and fears that they allowed to be spoken out. It reminded me of how burdensome it can be to not only carry these things, but to feel like you are carrying them alone.  

Not being alone. This is pretty tough right now. However, we still get to make the choice whether we are going to be involved in people’s lives – in each other’s lives – even if its not in the most ideal way. 

So thank you for believing in us, as we try our best to be a presence that reminds youth that they are not alone. I may never know or understand what they have gone through, but the opportunity to be present and to care are still there. They are not alone. We are not alone. 

Kari Miedema


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