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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thankful Thursday-My Summer Gig!

Today I am thankful for a great first week at my summer gig!

In case you haven't noticed, I haven't been blogging much in the past week or two. That's because there's alot going on over here! (I'll update you in due time;) As for today, I will tell you that part of my blogging absenteeism is a result of my starting a summer instructor position at the Chicago Freedom School on Monday. The Chicago Freedom School (CFS) is a non-profit organization that provides programming and fosters dialogue, coalition building, the study the work of past movements, and the understanding of current social problems between young people and adult allies. The Freedom Fellowship is a one-year program that features a summer institute that includes popular education courses and support for the development of an acition goal plan. "CFS defines popular education courses as those designed to allow youth to become more aware of how their own personal experiences are connected to larger social issues." I am facilitating a popular education course for 10 high school students on the relationship between racial and economic inequality and youth violence. I will meet with them for about 2 hours, twice a week, for four weeks this summer.

Here's a picture of me and some of the CFS staff being silly during orientation week:

Monday was my first "official" day facilitating the class. I have 10 bright and energetic freedom fellows in my class who are between 14-16 years old. We spent our first day getting to know each other better and setting the tone for our class. We made agreements as a class and watched two video clips on the issue. Soon we got right to business, engaging in a very thorough discussion about what has been going on in Chicago in terms of violence, why its happening, who its affecting, and what we can do about it.

As a young person, I was involved in alot of activites and programs similar to the Freedom Fellowship. I can't stress enough how invaluable the experiences and relationships I made during these programs were. They both helped to mold my outlook on society, myself, and my possibilities. Thus, the work I am doing at CFS very important to me. I hope to do, say, or be something that will cause these young people to think deeper and motivate them to go further than they may have gone before our interaction. I remember one of my favorite preachers saying some years ago, "You ought to cause someone to be something that they would not have been without an interaction with you!" -J.L. Jones

After leaving my full time employment to stay home with my first daughter, I was concerned that I would not have the opportunity to do anything "professional" until all my children were grown and out of the house! Neverthless, I let God know that my desire was not to be gone working a 40-hour plus job, but to spend the majority of my time raising my own chlldren and taking care of my household. Nevertheless, I told Him "It sure would be nice if I could somehow stay involved in the youth development/violence prevention field even though I am choosing to stay home." I'm so glad God honors those, "It sure would be nice..." prayers, don't you?

Not long after having my first daughter, God opened up the doors for me to start doing independent consulting. I have been able to do flexible jobs, in my field and volunteer at my convienence ever since! I am thankful to God for continuing to be so mindful of me, giving me the desires of my heart, and the ability to accomplish those desires!

"And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life" (Mark 10:29-30).

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