It raised me...
I looked over the topics for this blog at least 10 times, and it was rather hard when narrowing down the topics to categorize God as number 2-but God knows my heart, and honestly the topic I chose still has ALOT to do with HIM and he will forever be #1 in my life.
I was raised in an African American Methodist Episcopal Church from the time I was 5 years old. I was at every bible study, vacation bible school , church picnic, car wash, choir practice and so on. Although I cried most times when my grandmother dragged my sister, cousins and I along with her , eventually it all made sense.
I always knew that I was outgoing and loved being around people. I knew that I wanted to be a teacher or host some awesome show on television , but didn’t really care for college because not too many people from my family went and it wasn’t something that was talked about, other than at church.
When I was 10, my grandmother and God Mother would drop me off to Saturday YPD meetings and conferences at church , and we would volunteer in the community by passing out food to the homeless , or spending time with the sick and shut in at nursing homes. Although I would have rather been at a sleepover , or at the popular skating rink with my friends , I volunteered because I was told to.
When I was 13 years old , my God Mother , who was also the YPD Director forced me to run for President of the YPD, and of course I did it .... a chance to boss people around and talk .... SIGN ME UP!!!
But ... it was more than what I thought it would be. It was more volunteering, more Saturday’s spent in the community , conferences at colleges , building friendships and relationships all while keeping God first. I absolutely loved what I did , and eventually became the President of the YPD until I was 18 years old. In those five years , I had spent more time in the community, traveling , meeting people who I probably would have never met had I chosen to go to a sleepover or party at the skating rink with my friends.
I was constantly being recognized by the Mayor and City Commissioners for my work in the community , always being asked to speak to a group of kids at local schools and I traveled more between the ages of 13-18 than I do now.
I spent more time in the community than I did at home , and it was an amazing feeling. I was always in the local paper , and because of my work in the community , many scholarships were awarded to me and now the thought of going to college was embedded in my brain. The amazing people in my church and community made sure that I was at every college tour available to me.
When my grandmother died , it was the people in my church and community , my aunts , and God Mother who prayed for me , and picked my sister and I up for church. When I had no idea how I was going to afford Tawawa , or the Connectional YPD meetings, it was the members of my church and community who ensured that I had the money I needed to pay my registration fees as well as my flight to and from.
Once I graduated from highschool, my church and community was there for more , helping me pack up a Uhaul truck to go to college , always sending money to make sure I focused on my coursework and not on finding a job, and of course always praying for me and keeping me encouraged.
Now , even at the age of 10 times 3, plus 1, my community although now in a different city, still has my heart. Instead of being forced to help, and volunteer , my community now comes first , and even with a 2 year old who keeps me on my toes , I still find the time to volunteer and give back to my community. It’s embedded in my heart , and had it not been for my church and community , I honestly would not be the woman I am today.
Our community , this community, you and I , we are all responsible for ensuring that our youth , and sick and shut in know that we “‘have their backs”. They depend on us , and I don’t know who I would be , or I where I would have ended up had it not been for my amazing community. My church; Greater Allen AME , the youth of the community , the YPD, and the Big Brother Big Sister Programs will always have a special place in my heart. Even when you feel like you’re doing enough , do more. - and now I volunteer because I love to!!
-a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.