“Selling my body is my only hope.”
These were the words that sent chills up and down the spine of our One Heart Project Kansas program director, Victor Hercules, last week. The words came from the lips of a 15-year-old girl.
That’s right, a girl.
This teen - this child - is locked up inside a correctional facility in Kansas. She told Victor that her sister is a stripper and that following her sister's path was her only choice to make a living. She is a girl without hope for any kind of future, other than one that includes the highest risk behavior that leads only to greater brokenness.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
One Heart is in this girl’s correctional facility because our partners sent us there. Each time Victor walks into the facility, and interacts with this girl and the 40-plus other youth housed there, he represents them. Each time he helps reshape a young person’s image… each time he speaks life into them… each time he helps them learn new patterns of thinking and decision-making… each time he expresses unconditional compassion, it’s because others have sent him there.
As such, Victor is an extension of the village of volunteers, supporters and cheerleaders who are all critical to the impact of One Heart. So are the One Heart team members in Texas, Indiana and Utah who are there to serve the most invisible youth in our culture.
I am so grateful for the hundreds of people who are committed to letting these kids know they are not forgotten. Each one of them is making a big difference in the lives of hundreds of boys and girls... like the 15-year-old.
Many people have asked me, What more can I do to help?
As you can imagine I'm happy to answer that question. There are a number of things people can do. They can be a mentor. They can teach curriculum to a small group. They can give a kid a job. They can volunteer in many areas. Or, they can give so our team can reach more kids.
In Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Indiana or Utah, anyone can be a part of the solution. Kids asking for mentors outnumber those who have stepped up to become one.
We will start working with more kids in Missouri and Texas next month. Each one - male or female - is deserving of someone to help shape their life. We have the incredible opportunity to be that someone. The reward is so great. As One Heart mentor Scott Bolsins knows well (https://vimeo.com/246518605)
It is a word that will be spoken by millions of people today, tomorrow, and over the next several days ahead.
Yet, the word has multiple meanings. It not only means "a firm decision to do or not do something." It also means "the action of solving a problem, dispute or contentious matter."
Look, this is a big problem. Big problems require action - the action of solving a problem, or resolution.
As we begin the new year, One Heart is resolute in our commitment to helping these kids walk down a pathway to a second chance, and a changed life.
It's our hope many of you will make this your resolution, as well, so that more kids like this 15-year-old girl can be given hope for a new life. (http://www.oneheart.com/engage-form.html)