Written by Ashley Grills, Kids Adelante Volunteer
I walked into Mission Adelante for the first time a little over four years ago. My church had helped Mission Adelante create a vacation bible school. I met and mingled with all of the kids and felt such a strong connection, but I didn’t know how to get involved. A month later, I went on a mission trip to Jamaica and it was the only time in my life where I can say I genuinely felt called. I felt God calling me to serve at Mission Adelante. I was scared because I didn’t see very many teens from outside of the community volunteering there. I emailed Megan Fountain and a few months later, I began my journey with Mission Adelante. As a 14-year-old, it was completely out of my comfort zone to go to a place where I knew no one. In the end, I am so glad I did. I discovered that sometimes the scariest moments in life end up being the most rewarding.
Mission Adelante has given me so many things to be thankful for: love, acceptance, challenges, and growth. The kids and volunteers welcomed me with open arms into a very tight-knit community and made me feel like I was a part of the family. Mission Adelante is not just a place to volunteer. It’s a place where people of different ages and backgrounds can grow and transform together. As for the challenges, I discovered that the most challenging and misbehaved kids ended up being my favorite! I learned that spending extra time working through their frustrations built an even stronger bond. That is actually how Ximena, a little girl in my group, and I became “besties.” Just knowing that I would see her made me even more excited to come every Thursday night. One of my favorite parts of my experience at Mission Adelante is that I have been able to watch all of my kids grow in so many different ways. The first group of kids I taught are now the “big kids” in group five. It is just so incredible to see how they have matured and built on the knowledge that we taught them so long ago.
Now let’s talk about everything that all of the kids have taught me! I don’t know why everyone thinks of volunteering as simply helping other people when really you’re usually the one learning the most. I have rediscovered patience, respect, and love. With overly-energetic five-year-olds running around, it is easy to get frustrated, and they definitely challenged me! However, I feel like I have become more patient each week. The kids have also taught me respect on a new level. I only get respect if I give it. I feel like that’s especially true with kids, but I will also carry that idea into every aspect of my life. Lastly, they have taught me to love people from all places. They have shown me that every single person deserves to be treated with love and respect, no matter where they come from. That is the most important life lesson I will ever learn, and I have Mission Adelante to thank for that.
Although I am sad to leave, I’m excited to see where this next chapter of my life (college) takes me. I want to take this opportunity to thank every single fellow volunteer, kiddo, and community member for being a part of an incredible part of my life, growing with me, and changing my perspective. I love you and appreciate you all!
Love running? Want to support local non-profits? Join us on September 7, 2019 for Dream KCK 5K Race! Your registration fee and any additional donations support Mission Adelante and/or Second Wind. Register here: https://runsignup.com/Race/KS/KansasCity/DreamKCK
We will be hosting a New Volunteer Orientation on Saturday, September 14th from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. If you are interested in volunteering with kids, youth, arts and music, adult ESL, or citizenship classes, this is a great opportunity to jump in the fall trimester (September 16 - December 5). Sign up for the registration here: http://www.missionadelante.org/orientation
Do you have a heart for kids? Mission Adelante is looking for volunteers for its Refugee Kids Club, a dynamic and fun club program for kids ages 5-12. For more information and how to get involved visit www.missionadelante.org/kids.
Looking for a way to participate in Dream KCK 5K Race without actually running? How about volunteering to help runners during the race? Check out our volunteer opportunities and see which one best fits you! https://runsignup.com/Race/Volunteer/KS/KansasCity/DreamKCK