I have always loved the back-to-school season. During my childhood it meant a new notebook and a fresh pack of paper and pencils, a new pair of shoes and some new clothes. In high school it meant a new locker, a new schedule of classes and Friday night football games. Each semester in college brought a new stack of textbooks, profs and more late nights talking with friends.
Other than the promise of cooler weather (eventually!), there are two reasons I love this time of year. First, it is a return to the familiar. A routine, a schedule. As a mom I always loved when school ended and we could enjoy the relaxed days of summer. But by the first of August, I was always ready to restore the school schedule. It is a time to catch up with friends, reconnect after all of the vacations and travel. It is a time to settle a bit. Second, this back-to-school season is a fresh start. It signals the beginning. A new adventure, challenges, learning and growth are ahead.
This week is a back-to-school week for me. I will begin work with the Urban Scholastic Center (USC) in Kansas City, Kansas. Over eight years ago this organization was founded by Executive Director, Chuck Allen, to serve Wyandotte County. Today, four staff members and over 60 volunteers are committed to “develop leaders who will value education, have a high regard for authority, desire to earn a living and live responsible and generous Christian lives.”
- Since 201o the USC has placed 15,000 books into the hands of urban youth – everything from picture books for pre-K, early readers, and young adult books for middle and high school students
- USC mentors serve in two local elementary schools to help students achieve academic success
- 48 pairs of shoes and 24 pre-game meals were provided for teams from three public high schools during the previous school year
- 4th and 5th grade students can attend Life Enrichment – an after-school discipleship and leadership development program
One of my passions is to encourage and develop leaders and I will have the privilege of coaching and serving beside the USC staff members. In addition to staff development, I will help organize the day-to-day operations and scheduling, and work in the volunteer application and interview process.
And so, back to a familiar routine – going to an office four days a week, coaching leaders, meetings, and organizing and planning. And, a fresh start – new friends, a new neighborhood in which to serve, new ministries and programs, new discipleship and mentoring opportunities. This 57-year old grandma is grateful for this back-to-school opportunity. What about you? Regardless of your season of life, will you join me in making a fresh start? Taking up a new challenge? An adventure awaits!