Capabilities. Everyone has them, but hardly anyone recognizes their own. Throughout week three of summer programming at PTM, we have pushed the kids to every corner of their comfort zones. Some jumped into the deep in with two feet, while others tip toed into the shallow end. Each of the kids in the summer RISE program is beyond capable to accomplish anything they want to, but for many, their first reaction tends to be a defeatist attitude.
On Monday, a day completely different from summer programming, I supervised a group from First Presbyterian Church, who partnered with 12 of the PTM students. The goal of the partnership is to blend communities because in the end, we’re not all so different. After a day full of reading, tag, capture the flag, and worship, we facilitated a case study in order to show the First Presbyterian kids the kind of curve balls that are often
thrown at those growing up in the Preston Taylor community. We discussed single parenthood, teenage pregnancy, drug dealing, and low income rates. The First Presbyterian volunteers were astonished that these things happened in their own city. One woman asked how prevalent that kind of lifestyle is at PTM–it covers about 50% of our students. I have only been working at PTM for three weeks now, and I’ve already been asked several times if I drink, take drugs, or am a mother. The children growing up with that kind of lifestyle have a tendency to fall into the same pattern after seeing their guardians do it, unless they are shown another path. That’s the goal of PTM–to show the youth in the Preston Taylor community that there is a path that highlights their capabilities.
This week in normal summer programming, we studied David. David was just a shepherd boy, who was given God-given gifts to achieve milestones. Despite his weak and small outward appearance, David was strong and courageous. He realized that with the Lord behind him, he could conquer anything. David felt the power of the Lord within him, and rose up to face the giant Goliath. The giant tantalized David, but he picked a stone, put it in his sling slot, and fired at the giant. Goliath fell into the valley at his defeat. David realized all his capabilities with the power of the Lord. I challenged the students to discover the giant in their lives that is holding them back from realizing their capabilities. We wrote them down on a piece of paper, then burned them. In order to further your capabilities, you have to know when it’s your turn and have your heart ready.
Week three of summer RISE was a very packed one. We danced, hosted a speaker from the Nashville Public Library, played tennis, performed a science experiment, made bracelets, did more yoga, cooked a fruit pizza, and took a field trip to Percy Warner Park. The kids had the opportunity to clean up a branch of the Harpeth River, while splashing each other. We splashed Mia 12 times straight because it was her 12th birthday, De caught a fish with his bare hands, and JaDarious completely submerged himself in the river multiple times. I was so proud of the kids for trying everything we did this week, even though some felt defeated. Week three was a great week, and I can’t wait to see the kids discover their capabilities in the weeks to come.