Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Update

I have been in Nashville for five weeks now, and I have received a warm welcome from the congregation at Second Presbyterian Church. I have also started my work at Preston Taylor Ministries, which serves around 70 children who live in public housing. I am serving as a reading teacher for junior high students, and it has already been an eye-opening experience to see children who are as big as me struggle to pronounce words that many third graders can say with ease. Of course, these students are not too excited about having reading class after school, particularly since it is such a challenging subject for them, and they have not been afraid to let me know it. It is a fun challenge to create lessons that engage them, and it is forcing me to see progress in a different way than I have typically defined it. Sometimes progress is just not having a fight during class that day--or it may be an unruly student offering to help me hand out papers--or an apathetic student being excited about the content of what we are reading that day or actually wanting to help with the pronunciation of a word instead of just giving up. I am quickly realizing that progress does not have to be measured in leaps and bounds.

In addition to teaching, I am helping oversee a Lunchmate Mentoring Program. We have about 50 matches so far, and I introduce the mentors to students and check in with them regularly. I have also started work on our Angel Tree Program, which through local church families and other individuals we ensure that the children we
serve receive Christmas gifts.

I think that I am most excited, however, about the fact that I am working in an environment that is Christ centered and whose primary purpose is to glorify Him and share His grace and love with others. It is truly a blessing to be here, and I sincerely appreciate the luxury of taking this year to serve others and make my world a little bigger. I appreciate all of your support and encouragement.

On a side note, we recently had our Young Adult Volunteer Orientation at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, and it was beautiful, especially the views that I enjoyed on an afternoon hike with a volunteer in New Orleans. I managed to share enough with him that he no longer thinks some of my "completely indefensible" opinions are so indefensible:)

And on an unrelated note, I'm playing "kill ball" (a.k.a. dodge ball) as we called it at Calhoun Elementary School tonight for the first time since fifth grade. I'm hoping the participants tonight won't be out for blood.

p.s. I'm grateful that my mom, sister, and nieces are coming to visit tomorrow.

16 comments:

icadle said...

Ask and ye shall receive! :-)

Kimberly said...

I'm excited for you Allison...sounds like such an awesome experience! Let me know next time you're back down this way...

cdp said...

Yay for family visits!

I'm happy to hear you sounding so grounded and happy in Nash Vegas. I know they're happy to have you.

And your words about progress are well-received. I completely agree, although I'm not sure I could've said it as well as you did. Parenting, especially with Benjamin, has taught me the same lesson. Leaps and bounds are wonderful things, but baby steps are nice too.

Happy to hear from you!

ella said...

I am so happy that you are enjoying yourself!

And please do let me know how "kill ball" (that sounds scary) goes.

Appletini said...

Wow! It sounds wonderful.

Jr. high is a tough age...they are blessed to have you helping them :)

Flat Coke and Flies said...

I'm glad Nashville is treating you so well. I love it here, and the hospitality!

AaroN said...

Allison?

Play Kill Ball?

Wow.

I would have paid money to see that kind of action! :P What is this mysterious "completely indefensible" statement you referred to?

Accidentally Me said...

Kill Ball sounds very un-Christian!!!

Enjoy the visit by the family:-) It will be great for them to see what you are doing and be able to relate to it a bit!

e.b. said...

Glad to hear you are doing so well.

Scotty said...

You constantly remind me of how awesome it feels to help out. And, as my own constant reminder for myself I just started teaching (1hr a week) at a local school :) Pure fun.

On a separate note, some help from an expert?

Ys said...

It sounds like you're having such a great time. I'm so glad it's all going so well :)

Ally said...

Ella: Kill ball was absolutely fantastic! My team (the "Cookie Monsters" since that is the shirt I happened to be wearing) won 15 out of 17 games!! We ruled.

Aaron: You'll have to come visit on a Wednesday....then you can see the action! Oh, the indefensible statements had to do with spiritual leadership in the family...we'll discuss:)

bMoles said...

She's right. We did rule.

brandy said...

Ally! It's great to get these updates from you. I often wonder how the teaching is going- it sounds like you are doing a great job. I think you totally have the right attitude towards teaching, the definition of progress is dependent on the day, the subject, the student... so much! Anyway, looks like you are doing well. Keep us updated!!

Clearlykels said...

The pictures are gorgeous. It looks like you are working and feeding your soul. I'm jealous. Best of luck!

Jordan said...

thanks for the update....

I can't believe how many people are playing kickball again!!