My name is Emily Orr, and I am a rising junior at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. I am studying to attain an English major with an Educational Studies minor (I hope to one day be a high school English teacher).
Over the years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to volunteer at PTM. I attended a local high school that gave students the opportunity to receive class credit based on community service hours. I decided to volunteer weekly at PTM. I loved it, but in all honesty, I did not see myself returning to PTM after high school graduation.
Fast forward to spring of 2014—the end of my freshman year of college. My friends began searching for internships, so I started exploring various summer opportunities in Nashville. During this time, I was feeling a void—a need to do something worthwhile with my time and energy. I was feeling a need to serve. My mom suggested I return to PTM for the summer of 2014, and it was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. I spent the summer months interning with the RISE program, and my passion for youth and the PTM demographic flourished.
As you can see, the PTM staff can’t get rid of me, and I’m back for a second summer internship. This summer, however, I am working with the Junior High Program. The junior high students have both challenged and blessed me in ways I could never have imagined. Whether I am teaching a creative writing clinic, helping my team win a scavenger hunt, or having a personal conversation about home life with a student, I am constantly stretched physically, mentally, and emotionally. These rising seventh, eighth, and ninth grade boys and girls force me out of my comfort zone—they force me to be an assertive leader (if you know me, you know assertiveness does not come naturally to me), they force me to dig deeper with them and confront the heaviness of life, and they force me to see my own value as a unique and intentionally created child of the King. I began my time at PTM three years ago thinking that I would bless the students there. Yet, the more I invest in PTM, the clearer it is that I am not the one blessing others—I am the one being blessed.