We recently put the word out about a new series of workshops called “Helping High-Needs Kids,” coming January 11-February 2. If you haven’t read all the details yet, you can find them here. We would be delighted to have you come and learn with us! There are a bunch of great people coming to help us learn how to help the kids who carry the heaviest burdens, and we’re really anticipating our time together. As we spread the word in our community, I’d like to share my personal story behind why we are putting these workshops together.
About 9 years ago, shortly after I started at SCYM, I remember a little boy here in Springfield who came to our STARS program. He was completely defiant and uncooperative, and the STARS director tried one thing after another to work with him. One day as she sat with him she asked, “What do you think you’ll grow up to be?” He replied, “I’ll probably end up in prison. That’s where everyone else I know is.” I’ll never forget the sorrow in our STARS director’s voice as she told this story.
This summer I remembered that sorrow all over again when I read in the paper that this same little boy, now 18 years old, was arrested for a serious crime. As someone in a youth organization, I don’t know if we could have changed the outcome for him, but this question has been on my mind ever since: “How could we have done better for him?” And how could we have done better for others like him, who may be in our ministries right now?
There are some issues that children enter our churches and ministries with, that we have no idea how to handle. If you work with children at all, I know that you have encountered them too. And while God has not given us the ability or power to wave away the heavy burdens they carry or the pain those burdens incur, I believe that we need to give these kids the best that we can. We can work to understand better. We can learn about the professional help our community offers. We can talk together about what it means to minister to children with the heaviest burdens.
So it’s in this spirit that I’m inviting you and your ministries — and especially volunteers! — to join us for one, a few, or all four of these workshops. We have some fantastic people lined up and willing to share their expertise with us. Please note — these workshops are designed for someone who is NOT a professional! They’re for the “average” person who loves kids and wants to do their best for them.
We’re really looking forward to learning together as a community. Thanks so much to the Nehemiah Foundation, who is partnering to put these workshops together, and to Maiden Lane Church of God, for hosting us. Please help us spread the word, and together we can do our best to help the kids who carry the heaviest burdens.