PROJECT TRANSFORMATION INTERN SUMMER 2015
Project Transformation is an experience that helped me grow physically, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually. The work itself was demanding. I would wake up Monday through Friday at 6:30 am, get ready as quickly as I could and be downstairs ready for our meeting by 7. The rest of the day was wrought with crying, kids bickering, the struggle that is getting kids to want to learn in the summer, and often frustrating problems that would seemingly appear out of nowhere. It was undoubtedly one of the most difficult and stressful jobs I've ever had. But, in the midst of all of that, there was beauty. When a word a child hadn't known before finally slipped out from in between their lips, and they conquered a pronunciation they'd struggled with for weeks that was beautiful. I had a young man confide in me his feelings about his father’s recent overdose and how he figured he had no choice but to follow the same path. I caught him at Urban Camp smoking pot, and of course had to have him removed from the camp. But I spent that whole day, until his mother arrived, speaking earnestly with him. I laid my heart out, and I told him he was loved. I told him weed, pills, alcohol and everything of that nature couldn't bring him the sense of belonging he desired. I told him, for me, I found that in Christ. I told him I found that in the love of my friends and family. I told him I found it in my education. I shared with him how I'd struggled with similar things at his age and that he'd figure it out. At the end, he cried and hugged us, and said 'okay'. I never knew I could help someone in that way. I never realized I could open myself and share my heart in the pursuit of healing another. THAT is how Project Transformation grew me. It forced me to be in situations I never could've foreseen, and it forced me to act with empathy, compassion, and love. This skill is something I cherish. It's something no classroom, no instructor, and frankly no person could truly teach. Project Transformation packed a lot of lessons into a single summer. I learned time management with all of the constantly rotating classes. I learned how to teach in a way that excited the children and caused them to yearn for more. I learned how to set aside my pride, put on a wig and make a fool of myself. I learned how to accept the pain inherent in poverty, when a little girl tells you that the (awful) food bank food is the most delicious meal she's had in months. I learned how to work all day teaching kids and all night making lesson plans and attending meetings. I learned how to work with VERY difficult people and how to enjoy working with some of the loveliest people I’ve ever known. I guess, the last thing I'd say, is that I just learned how to set aside all of life's unimportant nonsense and serve.