2015 Trip to New Jersey
She Remembered My Name
A story from a BDM trip to Spotswood, NJ by Cathy Carson
A group of twelve youth and adults from Oakton (VA) COB worked on one rebuild site — a home in Spotswood, NJ. Joining us at this worksite was another larger group from Mercy Vocational High School (Philadelphia, PA); four adults and a dozen plus high school age youth.
The first day on which everyone was at the same worksite, our supervisor tasked three of the COB adults to “loosely” help supervise the youths, making sure everyone had a job; not simply standing around doing nothing. I, as one of those adults, did exactly that.
At one point in time, around mid-morning, I noted one youth (I’ll refer to as “T”) simply watching others tearing apart a rotted doorway. I asked T if said youth was looking for a job to do. An emphatic “Yes, please!” was the reply. So I found a job for T and me.
Throughout the day off and on, T and I worked on this task or that task. We also talked about high school, school plans/desires after high school, how to pay for that further education (you understand the general progression of conversation).
Upon arrival at the worksite the next morning, passing in opposite directions, T says hello. I reply “Hello T. How are you this morning?” T’s forward motion came to a complete stop, so suddenly that I asked, “Are you ok?” T stammered a bit, then replied, “Yes, I’m fine. Actually more than fine — you remembered my name! No adults except some teachers ever remember my name.”
So, yes, the volunteers who work at BDM project rebuild homes and help rebuild lives. Let us also remember we may be building or rebuilding lives of some of the volunteers as well. Occasionally even some additional personal growth occurs for a project supervisor or two. Give them all a chance to tell their stories; take the time to listen.
For more information about BDM, visit Church of the Brethren’s website.