One of our favorite things we do is to take our students camping. It has become an essential part of our life coaching program to take all of our groups (whether they are at-risk, homeless, or a refugees) to a secluded oasis in the Plumas national forest. For a lot of our students it is the first time they leave the Sacramento area, for our refugee students it can be the first time they venture out on their own since arriving in the U.S. None of our groups have the enthusiasm for the weekend camp out that the refugees do. Their zest for life is intoxicating.
Last month we took 14 Afghan refugees camping and one at-risk student. Taylor an at-risk student, is one of our best students. We had recently found out that she tried to take her own life. Since Taylor’s group did not have a camping trip on the horizon we invited her to come along with the refugees. You can imagine going camping with a group of Afghan teenagers is a unique and difficult experience but Taylor jumped in. She took advantage of the opportunity and helped lead the trip as she reached into a world beyond her own to help those who had to flee their home.
One of the best places for relationship building is on car rides. One of our fellow staff members took the opportunity as she drove up the windy road and back down to pour into Taylor’s life. Since then, Taylor has been able to see that there is something to live for, and there is hope.
We have had an incredible start of the year. All of our coaching groups are going strong, you just read one story of are greatly successful camping trip. Most recently we have spoken at school assemblies and helped to find missing kids around the Superbowl. Our calendar has been packed full but we are thrilled with the opportunities that have been given to us.
Our little family is going to grow by one in August. Raquel and I are expecting our second child. We are excited for the adventure a second child is going to bring.