Hope in a Time of Change

Ian North

When hope meets a challenge, it adapts and makes something beautiful. Like Wendell Berry says, “The impeded stream sings.” 

Before the coronavirus, we gathered in person, shared meals, and hugged each other often. We celebrated, played, learned, and ate together. Our students attended local schools, and we used their work as an occasion to tutor and mentor them. Sharing love with our immigrant neighbors was the goal, but it took shape based on the realities of our lives.

When the coronavirus hit, all the rules changed. Being physically close increased the risk of spreading a deadly sickness. Schools closed, and students transitioned to online classes. Due to restaurants closing and economic instability, some of our neighbors lost work.

Hope is a living thing. It is a vision of the good that is possible, and it grows and adapts to circumstances like any other living thing.

Our hope of showing love to our neighbors through tutoring, mentoring, and leadership development is a living thing. When circumstances changed, we kept that hope front and center, and built new structures to make it possible.

We listened to our neighborhood, reflected on their courage and dignity, and reimagined our work. The Presencia family provided over $12,600 in grocery assistance to families in crisis. We aided other families with rent assistance. Our staff reimagined our weekly work, helping their students connect to online classes, spreading out interaction with students, and setting up smart safety protocols.

In partnership with Atlanta Workshop Players, we began socially-distanced, outdoor drama classes, and our staff led weekly art and play sessions.

This year has involved significant losses and challenges. Hope doesn’t ignore that or pretend it isn’t so. Hope embraces new circumstances and finds ways to foster life, share love, and create new realities.

I’m so thankful for the love, prayer, wisdom, and support of the Presencia family as we work through this challenging season and keep hope alive with our neighbors.



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