When Work Isn’t Work!

Love In Abundance is a 12 year old nonprofit established to empower little ladies in Title I schools and communities in the Acres Homes area of Houston, TX. It’s always funny that people who aren’t doing anything always have something to say when the decision is made to help–what they believe to be–the wrong people.

According to the opinion of let’s call them “haters”; my talents would much better be served helping children they believed were actually interested in wanting the skills years of research had afforded me. All I have to say to like people is; it’s a great thing that I am secure in who I am, and who I am vehemently working to help every willing little lady believe she must be also–because that provided the knowledge of not having to adhere to the opinion of people willing to judge my little ladies, without the benefit of having actually talked to our little ladies.

One conversation with a student would have shown a sixth grade student who was so shy, because of the dynamics of her home environment, that she would not talk for months. She smiled often and always wanted to sit by me; but that was the extent of her involvement. It took a few months, but Love gave her the courage to walk into some of who she is going to be.  She’s moved, but we still communicate via Facebook.

A conversation with a 13-year old student who professed to love herself so intently that it was obvious that she was hiding her truth. It took a few months with love overflowing to have this baby say, “I’ve been raped by my father since I was nine years old. And I just couldn’t take it anymore! When my father told me he had given me to his drug dealer as payment for drugs he’d already smoked; who then raped me at gunpoint and made me give oral sex to his brother with the gun to my head. I felt like you were the only person to love me so I felt I had to tell you; but I don’t want to tell the police because they will just think I’m a black girl who deserved what happened to me.”

After begging her to tell her truths;  the police failed to arrest anyone; the father or the drug dealer and his brother. But my now 14-year old is a mother.

Maybe their opinion would be different if they were able to speak with a sixth grade student who makes straight A’s instinctively, is in several clubs at school, wand active in other areas. On paper, she is an amazing student; but her hair was never combed. When in a group setting and each little lady was asked who encourages her, her response was, ” I encourage myself, before I became a part of Love In Abundance. My mother says she doesn’t have time to comb my hair–even though she doesn’t have to be at work until 9a. I know I can’t depend on her for much, so I encourage myself to make good grades and do what I need to do for me.”

I was finally able to meet her mother after two years of working with her daughter as an internal stakeholder in her school, and this woman was put together from head to toe. I will admit that her disposition bothered me, but my focus remained on helping my student in every way I could. All of the students mentioned changed Love In Abundance focus to becoming a student focused organization in 2005. Love In Abundance is blessed to be able to make the difference in the lives of students who need an advocate somewhere; which makes my heart is the happiest it has ever been.

How many people can say that their job is to lift the heart, spirit, countenance, and academic and social competencies of every single student, and be happy about that?

Do I make mistakes? Sure. As a matter of fact, I recently discovered that an incident with a White police officer over 10 years ago created a change in my public reputation. As the eldest granddaughter of the first person in our family not a slave; I have always been afraid of White police officers because they seemed to be able to kill people like me and nothing happened to them for it. My fear, that has always been out of control when it comes to White police officers,  created an environment where I told a lie that has disparaged my reputation in the eyes of those who wanted something to be wrong with the way I have chosen to make a difference in the lives of our students. But I live to be the change I want to see in the lives of my students every single day.

Is it easy to keep doing the right thing when a mistake was made because of fear? Absolutely not! But every time I see a smile on a students face because of something introduced, or hear a student say I make the difference for her; I gladly work for that student’s good every single day. Life happens to everyone, and I tell my students when life begins to hit it’s hardest; look for someone else to help. It will take your mind off your stuff, and allow you to see how very blessed you really are. I refuse to be a hypocrite in the view of my students. So my question is: Are you ready to help a lady who made a mistake, help a group of younger little ladies come to believe they have the right to be whomever they desire to be? Helping Love In Abundance little ladies will be the greatest blessing next to Salvation. Come and see…