As we have started our new blog series called “Kingdom Vision,” I wanted to share some stories about the impact that the gift of time and talents has on those we serve. There are always needs, and simple acts of service can go so far. Enjoy this blog written by our second year intern, Jane Lee.
I love working for CLDI because it gives me opportunities to invite the people I love into ministry on the South Side. Many of you reading this might know my mom, Stephanie Lee. My mom has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I have ever met. Some of my earliest memories are of my mom looking for ways to serve and care for other people. When I started as an intern with CLDI in the summer of 2018, I knew instantly that my mom would just fall in love with the students that I had the privilege of working with.
My mom first got involved with CLDI and Youth Works by coming to an afternoon at 316, our youth afterschool hangout space. The girls loved her, which did not surprise me at all, and I know that it was impactful for her as well. As a past educator, mom has volunteered to teach Sunday School and lead youth group at her church. She has such a way of connecting with students, making them feel loved and cared for.
Uniquely Gifted to Serve
The following two holiday seasons, she facilitated girls’ Christmas parties. To the first, she brought all kinds of hors d’oeuvres and cookies and gave lessons on etiquette and manners to elementary and middle school girls. The second year she baked 10 dozen sugar cookies for girls to decorate and bring to their families. Another time she planned a party around Valentine’s Day. Her desire was that this party would show the girls how loved they are, both by the Lord and by our Youth Works staff on the South Side.
What I love so much about these parties is that they were things that I regularly got to do as a young girl. For some of the girls who came, it was a totally new experience. I love that my mom has used her gifts and talents in creating meaningful experiences to facilitate high quality, fun events for our neighborhood girls. Even more, the parties and the meals shared provide a safe and loving place for the girls to hear how much their Heavenly Father loves and cares for them. If you know my mom, you would know that she does not do anything for the recognition. It is out of a genuine spirit of servant heartedness and care.
Making an Impact
My mom says:
“Even though we can’t fix everything that is going on in their world, we can give them a small amount of time and attention that can go a really long way. I have seen that what seems easy to me, like throwing a party or planning a small craft, makes a really big impact on them. The first time I came to 316 I had no idea what to expect or if they would even like what I had planned. To my surprise, girls showed up 20 minutes early knocking on the back door so excited for the ‘special event.’
From raising my own girls, I have seen the value of Christian women being involved in all stages of life, and regardless of socioeconomic status, kids love being paid attention to. Something small like listening to a student read can make a difference. There is so much value in learning from each other and I have been impacted by the sweet South Side girls I have grown to love. I love seeing them around at Walmart or when I have gone to Orchard to mentor a student. They remember me, and it warms my heart every time.”
How you can Serve
I am thankful for the opportunity for my mom to get to know the students who are so close to my heart. Girls have come up to me after the events to tell me how awesome my mom is and how lucky I am to have her. The exciting thing is that these sentiments are not unique to my mom – if you have a heart to care and desire to serve, YOU can make an impact.
There are to many ways to get involved as a volunteer within CLDI! Visit our website for current opportunities.