You Are The Life-Changing Foundation of Project Legacy This #GivingTuesday
Thanksgiving. Love. Gratitude. Family. Food. Gifts. We are entering a season that is known for each of these.
I was fortunate to have grown up in a community where my support system was strong. I had access to safe neighborhoods, good schools, a loving family and a church that nurtured me from the time of my baptism until the death of my father. I had support — and I knew it.
But not all children are as fortunate as I was, or as I suspect, as many of us are.
Through no fault of their own, some children experience a life of neglect, abuse and other traumas furthering them from safety and social support. So while this time of year is known to bring peace and love for many, it can be painful for those lacking the same opportunity and privilege.
Last week, a few days before Thanksgiving, I received a phone call from a young woman who had been sleeping in her van with her fiancée and two children, ages 2 and 3. The young woman shared that they had been turned away from other housing options in Rochester because of something in her fiancée’s past.
As the week progressed, the young man found work in a nearby town, passing his drug test and starting work. They were accepted into another shelter in another town, but until there was an opening, the van remained their shelter.
This phone call came before we had received our grant from the Harper Family Foundation, and our bank account was modest. But regardless, I made the decision at the end of the week to rent a room in a local hotel for this family. Because for those in life transition, the window is often a brief moment of opportunity — and we met them there.
Last night, this young family joined our Project Legacy family for a meal and Circle group. The gentleman shared that he had entered the foster care system in Chicago when he was 2 years old after his mother was incarcerated. He told us about living in 9 different foster homes, followed by multiple group homes as he got older. And then, like many of our youth, he “aged out” of the foster care system with no resources, no skills to support himself, and nowhere to go.
When Project Legacy decided to step in for this family and pay for a hotel as they waited for the shelter, our resources were slim. We put a simple request on Facebook for assistance from our generous supporters in order to pay for additional nights for the family. Later that evening, I glanced at Facebook and was surprised to see a former student of mine had created a fundraiser for his family to raise money on our behalf.
Because of supporters like this gentleman — and like many of you — Project Legacy was able to continue helping this family. We’ve seen this support countless times, and are so grateful for the way your support has sustained our important and life-saving work.
At Project Legacy, our youth come from many faith traditions. This #GivingTuesday, a passage from the Talmud rings true:
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”
Project Legacy is working to ensure that all of our children have a safe place to sleep and the support to realize their potential. And the generous donations from supporters like you are the building blocks laying the foundation to make this possible. Will you partner with us this #GivingTuesday?