Holding On to Hope
Working at the Bethlehem Center has allowed me to meet some pretty amazing kids. For some reason, children from the neighborhood like to visit the Marketing Department. They stroll in, plop down on a chair, and freely share their day with us. Some of their stories are good, some bad, but each time I’m grateful that they choose to visit with us when they could be enjoying their summer elsewhere. Our most frequent visitor is a kid named Marcus. He is tall, kind, and soft spoken with a goofy side. A few of our staff members know that he doesn’t have the best home life and occasionally allow him to help with little odd jobs as a means of escape. This particular visit with Marcus allowed my coworker and I to see a side of him full of wisdom.
When my coworker asked him to name one thing he learned this week, he responded by saying,“ I’ve learned that I wasn’t made to give up.” Marcus went on to say that through the death of a sibling, friends who turned their back on him, and other personal issues, he's become determined to focus on the good in life. Marcus has experienced more in his 15 years than most people ever will. Yet, he chooses to remain hopeful.
Marcus also mentioned a scene from his favorite anime show, Naruto, where one of the Kings had asked his followers when did they forsake themselves. My coworker and I listened as Marcus explained how this scene reminded him of some of his friends who had started hanging with the wrong crowd, fighting, and getting into trouble. I was impressed to hear how Marcus made a connection between the show and his own friends who had forsaken themselves as well. He sees the importance of not following the crowd and being his own person.
Marcus’ determination to remain positive has encouraged me to do the same. He believes that he has a future and is taking the necessary steps to secure college scholarships by running track. He is also a part of our B.L.U. program and participated in the What If video series. This series was a project our students created with Causeway to help bring awareness to the issues our community faces on a regular basis. I look forward to see the young man Marcus will become and how he continues to grow into a leader.