Coordinator's Report: The Road Behind Us. The Road Ahead.
Prior to beginning this role as the Bright
Futures Joplin Coordinator, I had the distinct privilege of serving as a charter member of the BF Human Services Committee. I remember the first Bright Futures Breakfast where incredible people shared their stories and their passion for this endeavor. I left the breakfast with tear -stained cheeks, eager to jump on board! Our team began tirelessly working to identify ways we could support this mission, as did the business and faith-based partner committees. We started the Eagle Angel Fund and the first Bright Futures Joplin Facebook page. It was INCREDIBLE to see the community's response as the first needs began filtering into the Facebook newsfeed.
In less than 14 minutes (the longest recorded time it took to get a need met that year), every need was met. EVERY need. It was awesome to see the love that Joplin had for kids. The energy was contagious!
And then there was the tornado
Immediately after the May 22 tornado, Joplin dove in head first - digging and moving and salvaging and rebuilding. Bright Futures was gifted resources to take care of our students and our families, and we did that. Hundreds of families were helped through these resources, and slowly we've rebuilt together.
Now after nearly three years, Joplin is a very different city. Not only does the landscape look different, but each of us are different. We are stronger. We are more focused. We have creases in our brows representing the hours and hours of selfless work and giving that we've done to walk through this tragedy together.
But if you're anything like me, I have felt tired this last year. More selective about where I give and serve. Less apt to jump in with things. Ready for a season of rest....and that's okay! We all need those seasons to recoup and regroup.
Coming into this role, I'm seeing from the inside how this exhaustion is impacting our schools and our kids. The community that has given and given has been pulling back a bit. GREAT things are still going on, but we're seeing Facebook posts with needs going unnoticed. Requests for volunteers are going unfilled. Teachers who are struggling to find room parents to help with parties and activities.
But all of those kids that we started this
thing to serve still need us. Though we have changed, our mission has not changed.
If you are one of those that are weary and need a break, I encourage you to take one. Get some rest. But when you're done...we need you. Let me say that again...our KIDS need you! We have 56 TREK coaches who tutor kids each week - but we have dozens of kids who are waiting for a TREK coach. We have 97 Lunch Pals, but HUNDREDS that need a mentor. Although we have a distribution center that served 176 kids this month, we are constantly in need of items that we don't have.
The road behind is pretty incredible - we've done amazing things in this community. So thank you - THANK YOU! But let us not forget the road that is still before us. Together, we can fulfill the mission of a brighter future for every child.