Last Friday Jodina called me to extend an invitation from Bruce and herself to join UrbanPromise’s leadership team. I experienced a strong sense of affirmation and belonging, which I felt again during the my first weekly leadership meeting. It is truly an honor to sit with those who have brought the vision of UrbanPromise to fruition.
So that was one reason why this week has been such a good one.
Another is this really cool grant we are working on, which will fund a partnership between our art teacher Robert, the UrbanTrekker program and the Wellness Center to lead a semester long girl’s empowerment course. Through the lenses of art, nature and bodyways (think yoga, acupressure) we want to help 10-12 grade girls at UPA articulate their self images and develop a Rule of Life (you know I got that from teaching Confirmation class all those years!!!). We will bring in guest speakers, have writing workshops, go to the art museum, go on retreats. We hope out of this will come an art show, but more importantly that each girl will become grounded in who she is and be able to name the gifts she has been given to share with the world.
Then yesterday I witnessed one of our wellness goals, that of increasing access to behavioral health services by the UP community, becoming concrete. UP is going to partner with Genesis Counseling to provide group therapy sessions that include both parents and youth. Engaging parents is so critical to successful outcomes and yet so difficult to do, given challenging schedules, access issues and family dysfunction. But Genesis has been successfully running these sessions and so will come to us with an effective model. There is a cost – $40 per family for a hour or so of therapy – but think how inexpensive that is! We have already applied for a grant that will work for this – and I believe this will be something tangible for which to ask for sponsors. Most sessions are effective in only 10 weeks and result in significant behavior change in the youth, as well as increased support from the parents.
So it’s been a good week. And God is good.