I absolutely love SOAR. I fell in love with it from the moment that I started working here. It sounds cheesy, but it’s way more than just a job to me. It’s a place where I can go and forget about all my other worries and struggles. I walk in, and I know that the children in my group need my focus way more than my group project. I channel my energy because I know that despite how dirty my apartment is or how badly I need to call my mom back, that these kids are craving my attention. They are looking for someone to care for them and love them well. And by working here, I have declared that person to be me!
So what is really crazy about this job is that it does so much for you. It seems like a lot of work to focus so much energy on one thing, especially being a college student who doesn’t seem to have enough energy to go around. But this job grows you. This job has taught me how to love others just as Christ has loved me. These kids are cute, but they are also hard. They don’t listen and they can be so stubborn sometimes. But my daily realization when I walk into SOAR is how much more Christ loves me, despite how difficult I am. I love them, not because they deserve it or because it’s in my job description, but because Jesus has revealed to me, through this job, that He loves me more than I could ever love Him. But out of my love for Him- out of that overflow- I will love these kids. And maybe, just maybe, through me loving them, these kids will see Christ’s love.
It isn’t always easy. They are super cute, but they mess up. But this is just one of the reason that SOAR is such a beautiful place. Love requires grace, and every single day, we get the opportunity to show children grace. The way that we do discipline enables us to whip their wrongdoings clean every evening after SOAR ends, and everyday they start clean. I cannot even count the amount of times I have used this example to explain to my kids what grace is. Grace is loving someone despite what they have done, and I feel like this helps the kids know how much we love them. SOAR doesn’t give up on them. SOAR wants to see them succeed and the people at SOAR will do whatever they can to see that each child does just that.
And that is why I absolutely love SOAR. That I why I feel like I am a really lucky person to get the opportunity to work somewhere that matters and desires to make a difference. This place has changed a lot of children’s lives, and it has also changed mine too.
-Kaylin Smith, 2-year SOAR staff member