In the past few weeks I've gone on site visits with parishioners to some of the organizations that we are supporting under the rubric of a major mission initiative at St. Alban's that we call TLC (Transforming the Lives of Children). Each visit has revealed something wonderful about people. That wonderful thing is that there are so many who have given their lives to making the world a better place by caring for children.
Three recent visits have included the St. Philip's Early Childhood Development Center, The Harriet Tubman Elementary School and The Episcopal Center for Children. It's tempting to provide the locations for these organizations but I won't because there are similar ones that need your own contribution and they are not far from where you are as you read this. The populations that these (and your local) organizations serve include children who have experienced early childhood trauma such as homelessness and hunger; many if not most of the children they serve live in challenging home environments. All are organizations who are working with children not only to develop their competencies but also to help them regain emotional stability.
On each of our visits I have been inspired by the staff and volunteers who give so much each and every day. And every bit as inspiring to me has been the vision of their leaders: Crystal Powell has helped St. Philip's become accredited by The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in both infant care and early childhood education. At the Harriet Tubman School Principal Amanda Delabar inspires her staff and volunteers to practice what she calls "non-contingent attention." Non-contingent attention means that every child is given attention regardless of whether or not they've done something to deserve it (we Episcopalians call this Grace). Dodd White at The Episcopal Center for Children embodies the hope of Frederick Douglas: "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."
Thank you Crystal, Amanda and Dodd. Thank you James Woody and Suzanne Hicks and Duaa Bisharat. Thank you to all who are transforming the future of the world by loving the children in our midst.
Thank you St. Albans's Church for supporting this work. And thanks be to God.