Adam and I have been running The Porch for about five years now. The Porch is a drop-in youth center that is opened after school for a couple hours. We give free snacks and drinks and let the kids play pool, air hockey, watch tv, play video games and just hang out. It is noisy. It doesn’t smell the best. I spend a lot of time handing out snacks and then picking up the wrappers all over the floor. A while ago, I wrote about the reason I spend so much time with 12-year-olds. You can read that post here. There are definitely days where I really wonder if it’s even making a difference. If the kids even notice that we are taking time away from our own lives just to hang out with them. If it really matters. But there are two things that help me keep going.
Number 1. I am not serving the kids.
I mean, of course I actually am serving them. But ultimately? I am serving Christ. In Colossians, it says that whatever I do, I need to work hard, just like I am serving the Lord. Because that is who I’m serving, and that is who I am getting my reward from. I have got to remember that. Especially on the days I feel like I need to bathe myself in sanitizer, take a handful of ibuprofen and crawl into bed!
Number 2. If I make a difference to even just one kid? It’s worth it.
It has to be. I am not all about numbers. Never have been. I am all about reaching that one girl who just wanted to tell someone that she got a bad grade and not feel like she’s gonna get yelled at for it. I am all about reaching that one boy who just had to tell someone that the coach yelled at him during practice.
We are not an event based ministry, we are a relationship based ministry. We spend the majority of our time building relationships a little bit at a time. Listening to them talk. Helping with homework. Going to games. Leaving comments on their pictures on instagram. Driving them home.
And when the day is over, and all 30 teens pile out of the building, I feel totally and completely accomplished. Like I have done my job well.
I write a newsletter for The Porch and I have been asking the volunteers to write a few sentences about why they enjoy working and spending time with the teens. Well…when you only have a few volunteers, that is over quickly. So Monday, I asked a few of the kids to tell me in one sentence what they liked about The Porch. I expected a lot about the food and a lot about the games.
Here are a few of the answers I got from these 12-16 year olds.
~It’s another place to hang out besides your house and it’s cool.
~I like The Porch because no one bullies you.
~I like The Porch because you guys are giving.
~I like The Porch because the food is really good.
~It’s so fun to be at The Porch because everyone is so nice and it’s a place I go to get stress off my back.
~The leaders are wicked nice.
~The leaders all just give up their time and they don’t even have to. We like The Porch, but we just love you guys!
I was so happy to hear what the teens are saying, because it gave me a better idea of what they liked and what they think of the whole thing! I love and adore every single kid that has ever come through our doors. I pray for them and love being a small part of their lives.
Because we are a not for profit, we are constantly in need of more volunteers, more donations (That shelf in the picture was FULL at the beginning of the day. These kids can EAT!! ha!) and more prayer! If anyone is looking for a way to serve, or a charity to donate to, please consider The Porch!
As we continue to grow, we are in need of a bigger space!!! I can not tell you how loud and full it gets real quick! We found a building that we really want. The thought of it gets me giddy. It is 4 times bigger than what we have, and it is on the same road which is what we wanted since most of the kids walk there from school. But here’s the thing. We don’t have the money to buy it. Now..I’m a big dreamer. I have bhags. And I am not afraid to use them. And right now, the amount of $219,000.00 seems literally impossible. To me. But not to God. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says that no mind has even imagined what God has planned for those that love Him! So I’m gonna believe that God is more than able to give us a place that will give us more space. That is my prayer, if anyone wants to join me in praying the same, I would love it. And if you want to see what goes on over on 131 Main Street in Epping after school? Stop by and check it out! We love visitors!
And whatever you are doing? Keep doing it just like you’re serving the Lord. And remember that if you make a difference in the life of even just one person, it matters.