Each one of us had given up our weekend activities, family time, relaxing time, church time, weddings and Christenings and for one a birthday to be trained by Graham from Youth at Risk from Friday evening through until Sunday evening.
This is a new and very exciting project that is being piloted within Barnet in our parish on the West Hendon Estate whereby up to 39 young people who are at risk of making choices that will have a negative impact on their lives and life choices will be given the opportunity of weekly one to one support from volunteers within the community for a year. We were asked to identify one thing that we would take away with us from the weekends training and for me it is the fact that this amazing and talented group of people are prepared to commit themselves with passion to the lives of a group of young people whom they have never met and a community that I am part of and love with a passion.
Youth at risk believes that all young people should have a worthwhile future no matter what has happened in the past or how difficult their current circumstances. "Underpinning their work with at risk young people is recognition of a crucial loss of trust and respect about young people and between young people. Trust and respect are crucial values for all communities to hold and share in order to support community cohesion and individual pro-socail development" ( Joseph Rowntree Foundation April 1999 Social Cohesion and Urban inclusion for Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods)
Please keep us, all of us, in your prayers over the next year as we begin this wonderful and extraordinary journey togther.
I will finish with the words of Marianne Williamson with which we began todays training:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
by Marianne Williamson
from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in MiraclesPeace and blessings Fr John