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If there was ever a moment in life where I saw God connect the pieces in my life, it would be the moment I began working with my LITEs at Walnut Hill United Methodist Church this summer. The Leadership in Training Excellence Program is for high school students in urban Dallas locations.

For the longest I have lacked zeal about my work. I found myself lost in thought with God about whether or not I was making the “right” decision about working for Project Transformation North Texas this summer. My major of study is nursing, so while all of my peers are interning for a hospital or doctor’s office, I am working with children in no medical capacity at all.

Every day with the LITEs, I am teaching them about purpose, chasing their dreams, reaching for the stars, and trusting God in the process but little do they know, God is teaching me the same thing.

The other day, we talked about having a “mission” in life and what it would be like if they had a mission to guide them in their life’s decisions. So, as an assignment in the curriculum, we were to make a LITE mission statement for our site at Walnut Hill UMC. Here’s what this gifted group of students collectively came up with, “To achieve greatness as a whole, while improving future generations of unique cultures become better role models.”

What a beautiful statement? This is coming from students who many have counted out simply because of the neighborhood they grew up in, the way they may act/look like or the income of their families who work multiple jobs to provide for them. This statement was written by the LITEs that I am blessed to serve this summer.

In reality, this is a reflection of the quality of work that comes from many undeserved communities across the nation. The amount of talent hidden within the turmoil of our communities amazes me, we are hidden gems. I am from Oak Cliff, Texas and because of that, I was able to gain many life experiences that have strengthened me to be the hardworking individual I am today. I am an advocate for the “at risk” youth because I am an “at risk” youth now adult.

In a matter of two weeks, my life has been deeply affected by my privilege to serve each and every child I have come in contact with this summer. Truly, I find myself humbling my heart, quieting my mind, and working harder than ever to provide them with quality work that they will remember for the rest of their life.

To support the programs at the Walnut Hill site, and across Project Transformation North Texas, this summer, click here to donate.