Happiness Along the Path

At the end of any summer working with Harambee, I'm often asked how the summer went by friends, families and supporters of our work. I usually try to share one of my favorite stories. This summer there's no contest as to my favorite story.

This summer our Harambee teens ate lunch everyday next door to a Walgreens. On occasion a staff member would accompany a few youth to purchase a bag of chips or a gatorade to supplement the free lunch program's meal. One day as I was in line with two of young men, both 17 years old in our Harambee Citybuilders safety vests. The cashier asks me, "What do these kids do all day? I see your kids in and out of here all summer and they are just SO HAPPY!" Surprised, I gladly shared they they spent their days doing heavy construction work in the heat, dirt and sweat.

I love working with my hands, but I'm usually filled with a feeling closer to "satisfaction" as I work, rather than "happiness." This summer I saw smiling, happy teenagers at work. Of course different teens had their moments of unhappiness- but as I shared in our July snapshot there was a surprising spirit of JOY among our youth. I know it wasn't the dirt, sweat or heat that caused their smiles, but meaningful work done together with safe adults who delight in them and a team who they grew to love. Teens get a bad rap for moodiness and attitude, but in my opinion there is nothing more life giving than being around happy, exuberant teenagers.

We're so thankful for ways God developed a sense of team and family, and of laughter this summer among the youth in all our programs, and we're so thankful for how you prayed for and supported this work this summer. In this snapshot- find out ways you can support us as we start our fall season. 

Delighting in God's goodness, 
Michelle Johnson 
Director of Apprenticeships and Communication

Orginally posted in our 2018 September Email Snapshot