We had tons of kids at the shelter last night, but not for groups--for a basketball clinic! One volunteer, a coach and recruiter from a state university, joined us on many group nights this past summer to teach kids how to play basketball on the shelter's tiny "court."
We rarely have male volunteers, so the kids looked up to him, listened, tried hard, especially since he's patient and fun.
This night, two brothers didn't get to go to the clinic. They followed us to the group area and were soooo disappointed. Then someone called for them. Talk about "lighting up your life"--you should have seen their faces.
Lots of our kids are poor and don't always have opportunities to develop their passions. I know, I know--lots of young kids dream of being a pro basketball player, but shelter kids really need someone to help them be good at what they love. It's about being important to someone they admire. About getting the high five, the "good job!", the smile, and positive attention.
It's a different deal from the dad or father figure/partner they left at home. This is about caring, not a demand that they be perfect. Every kid needs that, but shelter kids need it more.