photo by Don Schmidt

VICRC, Neighbors Empowered, and A&HT by Don Schmidt

On August 23 I attended a Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center ceremony for the 4th Cycle graduates of its Neighbors Empowered Program .  Five single women and their children were recognized at the ceremony.  Also attending were representatives of several area churches, the mayors from Lockland and Lincoln Heights, State Representative Alicia Reece and several members of the VICRC board.  I attended as a representative of Ascension & Holy Trinity and am writing this to share a couple of impressions from this event.

Upon arrival I was able to mingle and meet several people in attendance prior to the actual ceremony.  I mention this because, as I introduced myself while meeting individuals, many expressions of thanks were offered for all the work, time, and donations that have been made to Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center by members of our church.  Honestly, it was a bit overwhelming to hear the number of grateful comments that were offered about our church and members.  I am sharing this because it is important to know that our efforts to demonstrate our collective church vision are bearing fruit and are recognized by the larger community.

I also want to share a few other thoughts.  First, the 5 graduates all committed to attending class for 20 weeks.  As single mothers they brought their children with them and made sacrifices to attend.  They were both proud and filled with happiness about what they accomplished in spite of many hurdles they overcame.  One woman wrote and performed a song to express her thoughts about her experience and a couple of phrases have stayed with me.  When she began to sing, her first verse stated that while “she had been shattered, she learned she had not been destroyed.”  She then included in her song phrases that described her many struggles in life such as wondering how she would be able to pay her rent or where she would find the money to put food on the table.  After listing each struggle individually, she ended each sentence with the statement, “but I rise.”   This was very powerful and speaks volumes about the program we support and the strong women who participate.

There is more that could be shared about this event, but I think you understand…our efforts as a church are helping people and are making an important, positive impact.

Don is a retired educator joyfully married to Cecilia with 5 adult children and 9 grandchildren. He serves on the A&HT vestry, is a life long student and loves exploring history and reading mysteries.