OSP’s Kinship Initiative Meets YMEN and Pearl
North Lawndale’s Young Men’s Educational Network and Pearl (the sister organization) . . .
Ministry Spotlight By: Elaine Sabrie
“You are what you were when . . .” according to Morris Massey, Sociologist and professor the concept behind this quote is: the experiences, values and heroes of your youth (ages 10 to 15) help to form the vision you seek to build within yourself and your world as an adult.
So what does this have to do with the Kinship Initaitive or North Lawndale’s YMEN organization? EVERYTHING!
Mike Trout, the Director, and all the staff of YMEN know in the depths of their beings how true Massey’s words are as they put the theory in action every day. The living example is seen by the young people who find a second home at YMEN and see the older youth who have gone through the program go on to college and come back to work for the organization. The “older kids” embody the program’s core beliefs and mission: “to prepare young men and young women for leadership by helping them grow in their faith and character, develop a love for learning, and use their talents to serve the community and strengthen families”. Such is the YMEN Mission Statement.
A small group of Old St. Pat’s members had the privilege of meeting some of those who have grown, matured and prospered via the programs they participated in with this organization. They told their stories and how their lives and the lives of their families and friends have been impacted. They are currently attending college, living in one of YMEN’s community houses for college students and working as a staff member too.
Proximity . . . Collaboration . . . Relationship . . .
Three words came into focus during Mike Trouts’s talk to us. After breaking bread, or in this case pizza – together, we adjourned to another room where young and old gathered together to tell the stories and brain storm youth work scenarios. Then Mike wrote the three words on the board in bright orange – proximity, collaboration and relationship.
If we always keep our distance, never work or play together and don’t get to know each other up close and personally things will never change for any of us. It’s only when we take the step in any direction that we haven’t taken before that we experience a different view or perspective. Proximity!
The people in the room were there to see life from a slightly different vantage point. Whether it was the 7 year old who had the wiggles or the 70 year old who so enjoyed him, everyone knew they were going to be heard. Collaboration! It’s hard to beat that kind of inclusivity. No wonder YMEN is a magnet to so many North Lawndale young people and families looking for an encouraging safe haven in the heart of the neighborhood. They call it a family. Relationship!
To learn more about “Growing Leaders: YMEN’s 4-Step Academic Approach” or The YMEN Programs Matrix or Pearl – the Sister program to YMEN, all you have to do – is dare to take a step in a direction you may never have taken before. Start at www.ymenchicago.com. Now that’s Kinship!
Elaine is an active Old St. Pat’s member who went along with Old St. Pat’s church members to visit a North Lawndale Kinship partner organization for the first time.