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: Chris Evans, Youth mentor
Chris was concerned about Gaby’s state of mind when this virus crisis hit. After her school was shut down, Gaby told her mentor that she was scared and anxious about the virus.
Then Chris remembered the crosses.
She had picked up some olive wood crosses, which fit in the palm of the hand, at the beginning of March when she and her husband visited Israel. She knew they could help Gaby.
Embracing the teaching moment, Chris gave the crosses to Gaby and explained how Christians through the ages often held on to a cross and prayed when they were scared or in need.
The next time they got together, before the stay-at-home order, Chris noticed that Gaby seemed more relaxed. Chris asked her how she was handling her fear and anxiety.
Says Chris, “Gaby told me, ‘I’m doing so much better! Every time I start to get anxious, I hold on to the crosses you gave me, and I pray, and I feel better.’ ”
This is an example of the spirit-led relationships that our mentors build each day with the youth in our mentoring program.
Going from her head to her heart
The many compelling statistics about the impact one caring adult can have on the life of an at-risk child spurred Chris to want to get involved. So, she volunteered with our youth tutoring program three years ago. She developed a connection with Gaby that grew strong, so strong that she also became Gaby’s mentor after just one year of tutoring.
Chris is a friend, role model, cheerleader, and tutor. She is also a teacher, helping Gaby learn about Christ. Gaby was baptized last fall at College Hill Presbyterian Church. They enjoy baking, playing games, hiking and having devotions together. Chris has also developed a friendship with Gaby’s mom and has befriended the family.
Relationships that are virus-proof
Since the stay-at-home order was issued, Chris has not been able to see Gaby, but she is staying involved. She stays in contact with Gaby through phone and text and drops off meals donated by local restaurants to Gaby’s home.
She was there for Gaby before the crisis, is there for her during the lock-down, and she’ll be there for her when they can meet again.
At City Gospel Mission, we pray that all our volunteers and staff embrace the idea that building meaningful, caring relationships with the people we serve is essential to seeing God work in everyone’s lives. We also pray that our volunteers and staff embrace and embody our 4 building blocks of a relationship – being Godly, Relational, Compassionate, and Transformational. Chris, and all our other mentors, are living that out every day as they show God’s love to children 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 mentoring an at-risk youth, click here or email email@example.com.