Better Every Year

Ian North

I’m writing this e-mail while our students spend their last half day in school. With summer a few hours away, I’m filled with gratitude that we get to walk with these children through the years as they grow.

This week, while they were talking at the Presencia office, Ruthie said to Wanda, “This was our best year ever.”

“They’re always like that, Ruthie,” Wanda said.

She’s right. This work grows deeper, richer, and more joyful every season as we face challenges, grow our relationships, and adjust our work. I invite you to be part of the next season with us!

Summer brings a new set of challenges. Caretakers go to work, leaving children facing long hours unsupervised. Families who rely on schools for meals now have to figure out how to get the nutrition they need. Without interaction and play, children regress academically and socially. And the summer usually brings an uptick in domestic violence.

A month ago, we sat in a circle with our staff and mapped out a plan to engage our students over the summer and make sure they had the community, care, and nutrition they need. Here’s what we came up with:

-  Daily programming: While we will simplify our programming to give our staff margin to recharge and prep for the next school year, we will still see each pod of students twice a week for snacks, mentoring, community time, activities, and play.

- Gym Days: Our students will enjoy occasional, structured play at the gym of our partner church, Brookhaven Presbyterian Church.

- Running club: Late elementary and early middle-school boys are at high risk for gang recruitment, drug use, and violent activity during the summer. To strengthen relationships, encourage health, and give them a positive outlet, I’ll lead a running club where we will work toward the goal of completing a 5k run together.

- Documentary Filmmaking: We will be working with our partners at Atlanta Workshop Players to document the life of our community and showcase the courage, creativity, and joy of the Presencia Family.

We need help making all these great things happen! To learn more about opportunities to serve as a volunteer, please drop me a note!

I’m writing this e-mail while our students spend their last half day in school. With summer a few hours away, I’m filled with gratitude that we get to walk with these children through the years as they grow.



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