The Instructors that step into our classrooms are not ordinary instructors; they are servants who have been called to this work because of one thing: their love for children and their desire to make a difference in a child’s life. Our Instructors work selflessly, always going the extra mile in everything they do. Each one pours his or her heart and soul into this endeavor, in hopes that something they do or say might be the catalyst to turn a child’s life around. In the final session of each of our courses, the students write a letter about their eight week journey and the impact the course has had on their lives. The following letter is a letter from Debbie Brown, one of our Instructors, in which she reflects on her experience after facilitating an eight week course of Reaching Higher at Milford High School.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that I have had this opportunity with these wonderful kids at MHS Spring 2014.
When Sydney came in she was dressed head to toe in black and her face hard. She was scared and frozen. She was highly self- conscious and lacked self-confidence. She rarely smiled.
Over the eight weeks, we saw her change. Little by little she softened. Eventually her eyes weren’t so afraid to lock eyes with ours. Sydney gained more confidence as she spoke week after week in front of the class.
And then today happened. Sydney walked in the room with a cute, sleeveless black dress, funky tennis shoes and her hair curled with a bright blue and white bandana carefully placed just so on her head. She looked lighter- her shoulders were relaxed and you could see on her face that something had changed.
When we asked if anyone had any good news or broken ropes, Sydney put up her hand and said, “I know it sounds corny but I have decided to start talking nice to myself. I started telling myself that I am NOT stupid, I am NOT irritating and that I AM smart, I AM nice, that I AM ok.”
Wow. How does that happen God? It happens because your love has flooded this place week after week and has created a safe place for us all to open up and share honestly about what we fear, what we don’t like and how we want to change to be person we were created to be.
Thank you for your great love God. It is only by your love can any of us truly know who we are and who we are destined to be.
Sydney’s story is not unique for Reaching Higher; hers is the story of just one of the many children whose lives have been touched and changed through Reaching Higher. Whether you are a Reaching Higher Instructor, a parent, or a grandparent, every one of us has been blessed with the special opportunity every day to speak the words of life and hope into our children! Frederick Buechner said that we must “go into the world and know how much a tired and hurting world needs our strength, compassion, and gladness. For these hurting are deeds of compassion and courage that will never be done unless we do them and words of hope and healing that will never be spoken unless you speak them”