Monday, June 2, 2014

In memory of Mike McCoy

I wrote this driving home from work (VIA – 4 talk to text memos, with a lot of spelling and word choice errors) it has been sitting on my phone waiting to be edited and posted. Today is the1 year anniversary of the passing of a man who spent the majority of my middle and high school years, and continued after I left, making a difference in the lives of youth in Frederick, MD. Mike McCoy spent a week of his vacation every year on mission trips with our youth group, spent Sunday mornings with his wife teaching Sunday school and many many other hours hanging out, caring and loving on kids. We will never understand why God called him home before WE were ready, but God must have needed some comic relief in heaven because he called home his number one jokester. We love you and miss you Mike. Thanks for spending your life making a difference. Elisa, Em, Patrick, Munchie, Elizabeth and Austen, Thank you for sharing your dad with the world!!!

Right now each of us has a chance to make a difference in our community through the life of a young person. Every day I work with children many who live in single parent households, whose parents work full time can barely make ends meet, who are lost and wandering looking for direction. Every day I also work with special individuals to give up their personal time to come and spend a few hours with our kids. Some people often come from far away traveling over an hour to spend 2 maybe 3 hours with our kids. Sometimes our kids are not fun, sometimes their behaviors are frustrating and will make you absolutely angry; however we make a difference for the kids. It's one person who will take the time to look at their homework and help them complete it, it’s one person who will play a game on the computer with them, it's one person who will play a game of tag or basketball. The volunteers that come don't realize the impact they're making our kids. No they're not paid to be there the kids know I'm paid to be there but the volunteer and the tutors come because they want to be there.  Investing a few hours of your time in the life of a young person can make a world of difference. Our young people are looking for help, they're looking for someone to care, they're looking for their place and they don't know where to find it. The volunteers who give their time are making a difference. The kids are exposed to people in a different area of life, a different community, their exposed to people in college who are furthering their education. Our kids are maybe getting to slowly see firsthand ways of life more than the community that outside their front door. You wouldn't think it but many of our youth haven't even left their neighborhood. Last summer kids went with us to the Smithsonian on the mall, and a couple of them had never even been to that area of Washington DC. Yep they have lived in DC their whole life.If you have an afternoon that's free reach out to a school, reach out to a program, and reach out to a church. Donate a few hours of your time to a life of a child. The children are our future and sometimes that's a scary thought, when you look at what's in front of you. It's just a little bit of TLC needed for our kids who are rough around the edges and putting on a hard front because that's all they know and that's their survival instinct that can really change the world and it all starts with an older person. If you just care a little bit or even a person who cares a lot change make a difference. One of our kids left the program but has stayed in touch because she's reaching and searching for someone who cares in her life, she's searching for someone who wants to know what her report card looks like. This young lady is searching for her place,  she is not in our program she doesn't have to give us a report card but we still get it from her every quarter because she want someone who cares she want someone to say I know you can do better than that F, what happened? let's work on it. Her brother has no one and won't reach out to anyone and I'm terrified for him I know he could do big things in his life but he's getting lost in the shuffle and I am praying that someone would just reach out and take him under their wing and show them they care. The struggle of our inner city kids real, the struggle of all kids is real. Our lives are much more busy than they used to be, our parents are working multiple jobs just to put food on the table, spending long hours at work just to keep the house over their head. The struggle is real, I get it, I know we can't let our kids get lost in the shuffle. It's not always just because their parent doesn't care or is lazy, sometimes it’s that they're just doing what they can to provide and it's our responsibility to help pick up the slack to keep that child from falling through the cracks and ending up in the system or worse. If you don't have time donate I get that, take care of your own, put down the phone and iPad, turn off the shows and  show an interest. Make it known you care about their grades, make it known you care about what they're doing with our lives in the future, talk about the future even if they are young talk about school, college, jobs, what are you dreaming for and then support their dreams and show them that you support by being there to begin working on their dreams. Have fun with your kids just spend time with them, a lot of our kid’s behavior problems are there  because they want attention and will take it any way they can get it even if it's negative.

 I'm guilty of being distracted, Eric and I will sit at the dinner table with our phones in our hands not even talking, we've got to reconnect with each other and we have to connect with our kids(when we have them)  or we will lose them to this world. The world is a scary place, imagine how scary it will be without a generation of kids who have had no positive influence in their life. My job is to work with kids, to support their families and it's something I've become passionate about. If I had more time to give to other places, I would, but I don't right now, so all I can do is what I'm doing now one day I'll do more. I know I will, I want to make a difference in this world and I'm starting with our kids.