When I first got offered the position as the Youth Program Assistant, Rev. Ken MacLaren and Managing Director, Margo Dewar, gave me space to pray and think about it. I’ve had such a heart for youth but have no expertise in any kind of art or music. I've learned though how God loves to stretch us. He will take us out of our comfort zones and into positions where we learn to fully trust Him.
I was able to attend a few week nights to see how the Innercity Arts Program works. I had no clue how the youth would respond to me showing up. Mentorship is one thing the Innercity Art Program offers. I questioned how I could mentor when I’m the same age or even younger than most of the youth in the program.
I’ll admit I really had to earn trust with a lot of the youth, and some I am still trying to earn trust with. They are so worth it though. It has been such an honor to get to know each and every single one of them. They are some of the bravest and strongest young adults that I have ever met. They have a lot going on in their lives at such a young age. I love looking around the room and seeing our volunteers being a listening ear for many of them. They provide so much support and encouragement.
One of the youth who comes to our program, who I’ll call Mike, had been working hard at preparing for an art show that he was about to have in the month of December. Every week he would show up at our art group to show us what he was working on. I asked him when the art show would be and he responded “It’s frustrating because it’s going to be on a Sunday and I doubt anyone will show up because you will all be in church”. I laughed and told him that my husband, who also volunteers at OIM, and I, would go to the early service that day.
After going to the early service, my husband and I parked downtown and walked over together to the shop hosting Mike’s art show. When Mike first saw my husband and I, there was a mix of shock and excitement in his face. The joy was priceless.
We don’t have to have the perfect words. We simply need to show up.
~Marissa – Youth Program Assistant