Last night we had an incredible experience at the church we are staying at. The folks from Urban Promise put on a simulation using drama, props and storytelling to capture aspects of the life of a boy in the Urban Promise program. Normally, the kid whose life it’s based on would come and speak at the end but he is at college — so it’s great that he missed it. 🙂 

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The first room focused on school and the peer pressure and lack of support that often sets kids in dangerous directions. One of the quotes I heard was “Why should I care about my marks? No one else does.” 

The next room was the kitchen where we watched two actors showing us the struggle of unstable homes, accessing food and parent-child dynamics in lone-parent families. We also heard some chilling statistics about crime, reoffenders and drug use. 

The next room focused on a true story about gun violence. A bunch of students were caught in gun fire on the way home from a school trip to the aquarium. The reality that most of the students we’ve been working with have been woken up by the sounds of gun shots and many know someone or are related to someone who has been injured or worse by gun violence. 

The final room had two current Urban Promise street leaders. They both shared their story and I won’t write it out here but this would be a great thing to ask one of the team members about. Meeting these guys and hearing about their lives was eye opening and beautiful — such honesty. Both of these guys are heading on a good path. 

Last night, I was reminded about a quote I once heard “People ask me why I always choose the harder road. But you assume I see two roads”. For many of the kids who grow up experiencing the realities of systemic poverty, their path doesn’t seem to have many options. Instead, they may naturally travel down the path of what they’ve seen: young pregnancies, gun violence, drugs, and alcohol, dropping out of school. Without options, it’s easy to do what’s been modeled to you. Urban Promise though IS that other road. It’s a place that provides options, support, and love. It’s a privilege to serve along side them.