By Robin Wagner
Director of Volunteer Services, City Gospel Mission
During this national Volunteer Appreciation Week, we give our sincere thanks for each of you – over 2,500 strong – who give your time and effort to build into the lives of so many people who need uplifted. You are the bedrock of our organization, and the catalysts for the life-change and spiritual growth that happens every day at City Gospel Mission. You are God’s hands and heart in action.
Today’s hero: Helen Brooks, Ballet volunteer
Last month, four young girls in our ballet program asked to be baptized. Then the stay-at-home orders came and kept them from taking the big leap in their faith that they wanted so much.
Being apart has not stopped, or even slowed, Princesses Ballet volunteer Helen Brooks from continuing to minister to the girls as their site leader at College Hill Presbyterian Church. She and the pastor at the church are working out details of the baptisms by talking to the girls and their families about how to make this happen sooner rather than later, even if it is in a small-group setting with families only.
Helen is determined to build into the girls’ lives despite being apart. She says the girls miss socializing and praying together, and that the girls are disappointed that they won’t get to perform the routine that they have worked so hard on – yet. She calls each girl regularly, and texts through GroupMe. She also sends dance videos through GroupMe to encourage them to keep practicing.
That is the kind of commitment she has to uplifting and empowering girls, many who are at-risk.
Says City Gospel Mission program Area Director Dale Ann Watkins:
“Helen is so perfect for this role. She has a great love for Jesus and wants everyone to come to know Him and love Him. She knows the trials of many of her girls and their families, and she relates to them because she has had many trials herself. She has a love for all the girls and families they are serving through Princesses Ballet.”
A teacher, friend and minister
As a ballet site leader, Helen teaches them dance skills and routines weekly. She also teaches them about Jesus, through weekly Bible studies and how to worship through dance. She loves watching the girls grow in their love and skill of ballet, while growing in their faith.
Helen is also a longtime volunteer in our tutoring program for at-risk youth, at our Pleasant Hill Academy site, where she and her husband, Joe, help students improve their reading skills.
Our ballet program has over 20 sites throughout Greater Cincinnati. Over 500 girls ages 3-18 are taught the art of ballet and importance of faith. They perform several times throughout the year. Along the way, they grow into talented, confident, disciplined and faith-filled young girls and young women.
All because volunteers like Helen Brooks answer God’s call to use their gifts to love, teach, encourage, and inspire girls who need it.
To learn about the many ways you can volunteer at City Gospel Mission, click the volunteer button below. To learn more about Princesses Ballet, click here or email email@example.com.