Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Saving Lives

hy·per·bo·le (hī-pûr'bə-lē)
n. A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect.

Lately, when people have asked me what I have been up to I say: “Oh you know, saving lives” - a little tongue in cheek. But the reality of what our kids have to survive hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday. After leaving a fantastic session with our new partners in Paramount, Derrion called me to inform me that the school our kids come from, Helen Bernstein High School, was on lock down because there was a shooting. A young woman walking home from school was shot in the hip, a victim of gang violence.

Yesterday could have very well been the day we saved a life, and that is not hyperbole. That could have very easily been one of the young people in our program. Life happens in fractions of a second. A car accident, a break up, a shooting, and who is to say that bullet was not meant for one of the young people who had just met their mentor, moments before.

As Gustavo shares in our video, his mentor Richard has been like a bullet-proof vest against the bullets that had his name on them. Gustavo has been to over 15 funerals in the past 5 years. He is not exaggerating when he says that mentoring saved his life.

Justin is alive because he chose us as his gang and walked away from the gang he had started.

Jon is here today, because Tony went out scouring the streets for him after he had left him a suicide message… and he found him, took him to his home, and let him sleep on his couch.

Sisters whose world was falling apart when their mom started using again after years of sobriety, hung on to the comfort of Derrion’s consistency, humor, but above all her loving heart. Today they are in school and working. The pain is alive, but they can carry it as long as they have a place to lay it down for a while, and that is here at YMC.

I you are reading this, chances are you already do a lot for us, but I am going to challenge you to do more. Help us create a virtual community that is part of the solution, and join our $5 Saves Lives Campaign, and invite your friends.

This is how we change the world, one relationship at a time.

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