Working at the Mary Mitchell Center over the summer has taught me a lot about myself, my community, children, adults, and life in general. I am very glad I was given the opportunity to work there and meet some of the coolest people in my neighborhood and people who cares about the neighborhood.
One of the things I remember frequently is the good advise that I got while I was there.
From the directors of the program, parents, staff, and even the children, I feel like I always needed a pen to remember something someone said to me. Yet, we were not in some type of intellectual setting. We were always in the process of having a good time. After all, it was the summer time. I always felt inspired… okay, not all the time but most of the time! I don’t know exactly what it was but I always felt the need to better myself whenever I got home from working there. And I think that is what I liked the most about working there.
One conversation I remember frequently, is when a parent was telling me how important it was to travel and go back to school. After I told him the schools I had in mind (which are all in New York), he questioned my goals that I had for myself. And even though I thought my goals were pretty high but reasonable, he left me wanting to make better goals and expect more from myself.
I also remember a funny moment working with Mary Mitchell children. It was at Dorney Park and one of the little kids got on a ride. Actually, she encouraged me to go on with her. Before we got on the ride, she kept on encouraging me not to worry about the ride. She knew I did not want to go on anything crazy. As a matter of fact, the only reason I was with people her height was because the mere thought of going on any of those other rides really did something to my stomach.
“Don’t worry, Miss Lilly” she’ll say, “the flying mouse (I think that was the name of the ride, I can only remember it had the word mouse in its title) is not that bad.”
And I’ll say, “Okay, don’t worry about me. I’m not scared.” And I wasn’t scared. I figure, if a kindergartner could get on, so could I!
I was having fun with the children, going on little kiddy rides. They were not so fast and did not go to high up in the air.
Finally, we got to the ride and It did not look that bad. But when we got on, I was really scared. And this little girl was beside me still encouraging me. And her encouragement somehow made me think that this ride was like the other ones. Well, when the ride started, the only thing that came out of my mouth was JESUS!!!!!!!! It was scary! And, do you know, she was sitting beside me screaming too? I had to comfort her and myself (thank God for God)!
I should have taken note when we got to the entrance gate before we got on the ride. Her mom said, hey, you are tall enough this year for the ride! It meant, that even though she had all that encouragement as if she went on the ride before, she had never been on it and was not speaking from experience.
When the ride stopped and we got out, the first thing she said was:
I think my life just changed!
Your life? Changed? You haven’t even lived yet! I thought.
Mary Mitchell has taught me not to be afraid to get on the rides I haven’t got on before and to always be ready for a surprise in life.
Later on, when Mary Mitchell was coming back from Dorney Park I remember most of the children (and I) went to sleep on the bus, but when we were approaching the Bronx, most of us woke up. I told the kids to look at the sky. The sun was setting and it was very beautiful. Isn’t it beautiful? I asked them. And one of them jumped up and said: No, Miss Lilly, its much more than beautiful! (When we got back to the Mary Mitchell, God had a rainbow in the Sky waiting for us!)
Working at the Mary Mitchell has taught me not to underestimate the good in my life.
One more story, it is about one of the youngest kids that were at Mary Mitchell during the summer. Because he was so young, someone always had to hold his hand. He was the type of child that you fell in love with right way. He was the sweetest child. I didn’t mind spoiling him. Anyways, one day we were all walking back from the park and he was holding my hand. We were walking pass a building with some young men sitting on the stoop. One of the workers, who was walking in front of me, knew the young men on the stoop and gave them both a pound when he passed them. No word exchanged between them, just a cool hand shake. And when the little boy saw this his, eyes got big and when we walked passed the young men, he calmly, walked up to the young men and held out his hand for a cool hand shake. They both started smiling and gave him the pound he wanted.
Working at the Mary Mitchell has encouraged me to want and not to be afraid to just go and get.
When I think about what God has done for me and the beautiful opportunities He has given me, I know that He is one God who is much more than beautiful. He’s perfect and just for me.