Monday, December 17, 2007

Hope Center and Hope Skate

The note on the door read, "The following clothing colors are not allowed inside: Red, Blue, and Orange."
Hmmm. Must be gang colors.
The Hope Center is on a mission to break the cycle of hopelessness for inner city children. We had the opportunity to meet some of them as they built gingerbread houses. They were like most other children...shy until you show some interest in them and what they're doing. Then, they light up!
Afterwards, we were given a tour of the Hope Center, which was started by a youth pastor from western Omaha. He had heard of the lack of parental and community support for a local high school football team, and started taking his youth group to the games. But, he was confronted with the fact that after they left, these kids remained in their desperate situations.
You see, that part of Omaha has been plagued with shootings this year. One month, there was a shooting every day.
So, it made sense (and yet was odd to see) when we were shown the monthly social attitudes calendar. Every month, the kids are taught topics such as "What to do when someone tells you 'No'", "How to disagree with someone", and "How to introduce yourself."
As we skated later, it was another bizarre sighting as the security guard wanded little kids entering the skating rink, checking them for weapons.
How would you not live in constant fear?
Imagine wondering if every stranger you met would befriend you or kill you.
I pray these kids can find Jesus in the peace and love that good Christian volunteers are teaching them at the Hope Center.

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