Beyond appreciation

Every year First Glance hosts a volunteer appreciation dinner for all of our volunteers.  I really wholeheartedly believe we have the best volunteers in all of Akron.  They do so much for First Glance, our community and our students.  So each year we attempt to honor and appreciate them for all they do.  And with that I have the privilege of doing a short presentation of thanks and highlights.

The challenge every year is to clearly and concisely articulate my deepest appreciation…

  • For coming each week, even when they don’t feel like it.
  • For loving teens and young adults that don’t always love you back.
  • For moving their families into the community to love our students better and more often (45% of our volunteers now live in a one mile radius of FG).
  • For showing up to countless court hearings, sporting events, birthday parties, plays, and anything else they are invited to.
  • For investing their personal time and money to love and care for our students outside of FG.
  • For giving countless rides to FG as well as other places.
  • For coming back even after breaking up a fight.
  • For showing them the hope and love of Christ.
  • The list could go on… and on… and on.

We have amazing and dedicated volunteers and I am impressed constantly by what they do for First Glance.

This year the volunteer appreciation dinner was even more humbling.  For years I have talked about this community of volunteers.  And almost every time I have talked about them I have bragged about how well they do to care for each other.  I’ve seen them drop groceries off to each other, loan household goods, buy each other cars, care for each other’s kids and so much more.  In explaining the way our community loves one another I have always said, “if something ever happened to us,  I have no doubt that they would be first on the scene.”  It’s true.  At least 100 times I’ve said this phrase when giving FG tours or talking about this community of volunteers.

When I woke up on December 8th I had no idea that I would be putting that phrase to the test.  I didn’t know that at 11:35 I would begin to text a handful of them and ask for prayer.  I didn’t know that within minutes our community would show up at the hospital.  I had no way of knowing what the next days and months would hold for Tim and I.  But I was right.  Something did happen to us and they were first on the scene.  They didn’t only show up on December 8th, but they have walked with us for almost three months since.  They have brought us food, given us money for medical bills,  helped us host a funeral, clean up a tree in our backyard, given FG money in Enoch’s name and so much more.  They did everything they could… even in a season when the doing feels empty because you can’t fix it.

There are NO words to express how humbled and appreciative Tim and I are at how the FG community loved, cared and supported us during the hardest season of our lives.

And on Friday I stood before this group for our annual volunteer appreciation with a very different message of thanks than I ever anticipated giving.  I thanked them wholeheartedly for not only loving and caring for this community, but for loving and caring for Tim and I.  I am so amazingly humbled and grateful to serve along side each of these volunteers!

**Please note many others, including family and friends have been a great support as well!

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