All of us have memories of our favorite childhood summer activities, don't we? For me, it was going to the swimming pool with friends and playing softball in my hometown league. As I recall those memories fondly, there is one particular incident that stands out to me. The was one day when we were gearing up for a big game, and there was (as there always is) that one girl on the team who just wasn't very good. I was probably in 3rd grade (and very competitive). She played the same position as me, but only filled in my spot when I was sick or too tired to play. I remember sitting on the bench while she was taking a turn on the practice field, complaining to my coach about her lack of skill in this important position (because we all know how "big stuff" the third baseman is on the 3rd grade girls' league in a small town). I grumbled how unfair it was that SHE was playing when it should be ME getting ready for this important game.
I'll never forget what happened next. My coach quickly turned and came to sit down near me on the bench. She proceeded to explain to me that this little girl had been through a lot and that she tried really hard. That if she never got a chance to play, she'd definitely never get better. She shared with me a great piece of wisdom when she said, "every person has a story, so slow down long enough to listen." I'll never forget how this small conversation changed my perspective. I realized that this little girl (who may not have been a star softball player in 3rd grade) mattered. I realized that her performance on the field didn't change her worth as a person...that a little extra investment was worth it to help this little girl succeed.
This is what Bright Futures is all about. We believe that every child deserves to have an opportunity to succeed, and that sometimes just a little time on the field with a coach who believes in him/her can dramatically change the ending to a child's story!
This summer, BF Joplin is starting a new summer tradition - the Triple Crown Race Series with the 3rd leg here in Joplin on July 26th at the MSSU Cross Country Course. There's a 5K and a 15K option to help raise funds that enable us to continue being a part of changing stories.
Come run with us - bring your whole family. Make your story count in the life of another! Questions? Give us a yell by emailing or calling the office at 417-625-5200, ext. 2229.
Melissa Winston, MSMFT, S-MFT
BF Joplin Coordinator