by Sister Donna Liette, C.PP.S., Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation
Summertime brings many youth to our door for food, safety, support, and a job! Ten participated in a program, “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-by World” with work assignments in the afternoon. When I asked why they chose this group, all ten said, essentially, “so we can be safe at least for this hour and not be caught up in the crime and violence of our streets.” Another younger group participated in a daily circle sharing struggles, dreams, choices, and possibilities for their future.
A very exciting piece of our summertime medley was leasing a new building for the arts: painting, silk-screening, poetry slams, and hospitality brunches and lunches. There was great excitement as curious neighbors stopped by and boys and staff were moving art supplies from the main building to the “art on 51st.” One of our college youth was painting; others were cleaning and adding touches of beauty to a once vacated neighborhood building. In four days, staff and youth were serving a brunch to fifteen of our neighborhood poor and as we watched the joy and gratitude of those we served, we knew leasing and restoring this building would offer many possibilities to a neighborhood of boarded up buildings; a neighborhood with few opportunities or safe places to come together as community.
It was a summertime to enjoy a medley at pbmr of new life, new learnings and new relationships.