[Editor’s Note: One of the reasons I love PTM is the chance to serve with Donna Moffitt. Below is a letter from Donna outlining what PTM has meant to her…and so many others.]
My 15th anniversary is coming up! My anniversary being a volunteer at PTM, that is.
The reasons I love PTM are deep, not-so-deep, vast and “just little things” and it is hard to put them all in words. I came fifteen years ago to give but have been the recipient of so much more it could fill a book and I only have this blog post. My top 10 – in no certain order.
- The opportunity to get to know the hearts and minds of PTM students is amazing.
- I love just seeing the students show up, especially the teens. I know Jesus is working in their lives when I see them making the good choice to come and be with peers making good choices and with caring adults. There are many other things they could be doing and it has always made my heart full to just see students show up for programming!
- And speaking of friendships…there is something very magical and meaningful about working alongside others who share the same passion and enthusiasm for the work. They do indeed become like family. I have been blessed with many good friendships through working alongside one another at PTM. I did not come to PTM with a thought about finding community for me but what a gift it has turned out to be!
- Last night, “I-am-so-glad-to-know-her Kennedy Rawls” texted me she found her poem and would send it today and if she did not to remind her. I told her that was the best news I had yesterday. She is a UTC student but came to PTM in Elementary school. She wrote a beautiful poem when she graduated that has been lost until now. I wanted to type it up nicely and get her signature on it.
- I think we all know now how essential connection is after COVID. PTM offers so many ways for all involved to connect- to connect with resources, with mentors, with friends and to feel a part of something bigger than oneself. We all need this!
- Chan has always done an outstanding job of providing a place for anyone to share any gift or talent for the benefit of enriching student opportunities. The reasoning being you never know what might inspire and stick. Everyone brings what they have to the table – whether it is bread baking, songwriting, math tutoring, art, sewing, basics of budgeting and more. I love this.
- It was a rocky start, the first few weeks I volunteered. I was a Family Group Leader in the Calvin House program with the oldest teens. I will be honest, the teens did not pay the least bit of attention to me. It was chaos. A friend told me perhaps they were wondering what a white, suburban woman like me could possibly know about their life and wondering why I was there.
I shared with them about my brother who died of an overdose at 17 having no hope for his future and how much I loved him. I wanted to do all I could to let young people know there was hope in Jesus and there was love in this world. It was the first of many times through the years, both happy and sad, that we cried together. Sometimes it was over neighborhood violence that robbed them of their friends and family and sometimes it was happiness over succeeding, overcoming and friendships.
- The takeaway for me was that “listening, love and Jesus” triumphs over all manner of differences like skin color and where one breathes in the world. We talked regularly of being a family because we had one Father, God. This is not saying we should not acknowledge differences but, in the end, we love each other anyway, we respect our differences and it is a wonderful and beautiful thing.
- Once a month for several years, a “storyteller” came and shared their testimony with all in the Calvin House program. Leaders shared with the students how courageous that is and what we can all learn from each other’s stories. What a marvelous thing to learn! I am preparing to teach a ladies class at my church on this topic next month- inspired by our Calvin House Storytelling nights.
- I have loved the fellowship, community, shared passion and work that has gone into all of these below- some are now “PTM Traditions”… (I love a good tradition!)
Thrive meetings with the PTM young adults
High school and College graduation celebrations
One on one mentoring opportunities
Wilson Center Open Houses
Capture the Flag days
Giving Thanks Banquets honoring Hal Wilson award recipients and the night we surprised Chan with a basket of gift cards
Awarding of College scholarships
Hosting students at the Moffitt’s
Moving students to college
Calvin House Thanksgivings
Retreats at Barefoot Republic Camp
Annual PTM Advent Devo
PTM Board Staff Appreciation weeks
All of the above to further Kingdom-Building, to provide hope, to have a place where students in the Preston Taylor area can build relationships with peers and caring adults! I could go on but these are my top 10… I am forever grateful for the amazing students, the caring adults, Chan’s passion for the work, PTM and the opportunity to serve in such a meaningful way.