This is a story of a faith community seeking to care deeply about our place, to show up in ways that actually benefit our neighbors and to join in God’s dream that everyone would flourish in the community. This is also a story of neighbors, parents, high school and university students, retired teachers and professionals and local businesses coming together to invest in the lives of at-risk youth and their families. And so what started as a very small story has grown into a much larger story that includes so many beautiful people in our community.
I first fell in love with Turning Point ten years ago as I drove a vanload of these loud, crazy, wonderful youth from Ballinger Homes to a weekly basketball camp. Turning Point had just been birthed out of our faith community as we were seeking to love our neighbors. I knew nothing about basketball, but I learned to care very deeply about these wild and yet delightful girls whose families had bravely come here from Vietnam, Afghanistan, Eretria and the Ukraine. Today, I am a board member and a tutor, and I have had the privilege of seeing these same young women grow up, graduate university and give back to the community. And I am incredibly grateful that I continue to be a part of such a wonderful organization and invest in the lives of youth.
As I sit with students every week in our afterschool tutoring program offered three days a week, it is clear that we need each other. We need the diversity and strength of community so that everyone can thrive. I learn so much from the tutors, students and families. And I believe that when the community comes together, there is always enough. That when each member contributes, there is never lack. And when people help people, there is always an abundance of riches.
Turning Point has been nominated for a BECU People Helping People Award, and we are so excited. We know that education is vital in creating opportunities for our children and building strong communities. We know that early prevention works. We know that after school programs are a proven solution. And so we are passionate about investing in at-risk children in our local community, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to thrive. And we believe in the power of community as neighbors come together to help each other.
And a beautiful community has been created as neighbors have come together around the table to share in a community meal every month. Retired teachers, neighbors, and high school and university students offer their gifts as volunteer tutors. Parents, children and families come together across diverse cultures, religions, and languages. We share friendship, culture and stories as we share our food together. And a beautiful fabric of care has been created where neighbors help neighbors, parents help parents, and students help students.
The really good news is that Turning Point has been nominated for a BECU People Helping People Award and we will be a recipient of a significant grant of $15,000!
But YOU can make it $30,000!
By voting for us in the People's Choice Award. [Voting is open from November 3-17.]
The fun part is that this is a good story. A God story. A story of love. A story of presence. A story of neighbors helping neighbors. A story of inclusion, equity and diversity. I think this is a glimpse into what good news looks like today. Will you share our story?
By Jessica Ketola