You Do What???
Whenever I meet new people and the topic of what I do for a living arises I get some pretty strange looks. Then, invariably, I get asked a follow-up question that goes something like this: “What could possibly make you want to spend your weekends with hundreds of other-people’s kids???” I’m not always sure what is going through the questioner’s mind at that point but, by their you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me look, I can usually assume that they think I’m either joking, crazy, masochistic, or worse. The question, though, is legitimate. Why do we do what we do here at the 3 Mile Project?
Growing up has never been easy. But we’re living in a time in which social media takes bullying viral, technology makes isolation common, media messages lead kids to believe they should be acting like grownups by the time they’re twelve years old, and our culture seems more intent on tearing others down than on building others up. It’s a tough world out there for our tweens and teens and, as a result, some of them are reacting in ways that far too often end up on the evening news. We are raising up a generation of young people that struggles with feelings of anger, isolation, loneliness, confusion, and hopelessness.
So why, then, do we do what we do? It’s simple, really. Our hearts break for these young people. And because we’ve been blessed to have been shown a better way, we feel compelled to share that good news with them. So we’ve created a safe, fun, and exciting place where we can earn the right to point our visitors to a way of life that leads to meaning, purpose, hope, and joy. Our primary tool is love and, by reflecting the love that God has shown us, we engage in a ministry of softening hearts. We’re not interested in pressuring kids or judging how they live their lives or acting like we’ve got it all figured out. We just want to be a little refuge of light in the darkness.
The risk of this whole blogging thing is that we end up sounding like a bunch of self-promoters, patting ourselves on the back and pointing to our jerseys after we’ve sacked the quarterback. It feels awkward to us. That’s why it’s taken us more than three years to really begin sharing our story. The truth, though, is that God has given us a heart for young people, a set of gifts and talents that allows us to effectively connect with them, the plan to put this thing together, and the resources to make it all possible. This opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people is not about us or because of us. We’re simply blessed to be a part of it.
– Stan, Executive Director