The Qualities of Youth and Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Tell me the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young…
and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation.
– Edmund Burke
The cruelties and obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement of danger.
It demands the qualities of youth.
– Robert F. Kennedy
I walked into the reception area at Springs Rescue Mission and saw a friend standing there. Two overloaded boxes of canned food filled his arms. I relieved him of one box and we began our walk across the parking lot to the warehouse. He beamed when he said, “This is from my daughter’s birthday party over the weekend. Sweet sixteen and she asked for her guests to bring canned food for the people the Mission serves instead of gifts for her. Pretty awesome, isn’t it?”
Yes, it is. We’ve benefited from dozens of such parties in the last year. Reports of those donations never fail to make us smile – maybe not as broadly as do the parents involved, but pretty close.
It is humbling to consider the contributions younger people in our community have made to the Mission in recent months. It is even more humbling to realize that those we serve, and the Mission, occupy such significant space in the minds of so many youth in the Pikes Peak Region.
There are scores of youth-driven fundraisers to benefit the neighbors we serve. There’s no way I can give credit to all of them. Not so long ago two area high school wrestling teams from Pine Creek and Discovery Canyon high schools made us the beneficiary of gate receipts from a dual meet. Although the young men on the teams are fierce competitors on the mat (a good number had qualified for the state meet), they came together to help ensure that the Mission could care for families in need. A few months before , Rotary Medallion Champion Allie Morgan directed a gift in honor of her achievement from area Rotary Clubs to the Mission.
Youth and youth groups volunteer to serve the Mission in a variety of ways, some so frequently that they know Mission staff by name. Sometimes they plant, paint, rake, sort clothes in the warehouse, help set up and clean up events, and so much more. They come from small churches and mega churches and high schools and families. Sometimes they take on tasks that help us raise funds, as Mackenzie did in learning and testing a new way to help us raise money to purchase turkeys last holiday season. Again, naming each of them is beyond the capacity of this blog. But in every case, when our younger friends show up, special things happen.
Spring always brings proms and graduations and weddings, and thoughts of where all the time went in the lives of the kids we love. The Pikes Peak Region and friends of the Mission can celebrate the fact that hundreds of our youth show their character in being neighbors helping neighbors – a task which often demands the qualities of youth, no matter what our age might be.
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The plight of the poor in North America continues to evade simple solutions. The church has shown general concern and has been somewhat involved, but an underlying feeling that social woes are the government’s problem, and a lack of knowledge about meaningfully engaging with people in need, have kept the church from fulfilling its spiritual mandate. Invisible Neighbors tells the story of the desperate and destitute in our midst and reiterates Jesus’ instructions. With a unique combination of printed word, videos, website, and social media, the campaign is designed to motivate believers to engage with the poor in a way that will impact their communities, their churches, and their own lives.
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To find out more about Springs Rescue Mission, please visit www.mySRM.org