Volunteering with Mission Waco has truly shaped the course of my life. I began volunteering as a middle schooler, working with King’s Club and occasionally attending Church Under the Bridge with my youth group. Through that work, I learned about lives and situations that were different than mine. I learned to see people - to love without judgment or fear. In high school, I began tutoring at the Jubilee Center and learned about the huge disparity in educational experiences for children living in our country.
When I left for college, I wanted to be a part of the process of alleviating poverty and developing educational equity because of what I saw in Mission Waco. I ended up studying education and continuing to tutor in high-need areas. When I graduated, I joined Teach For America and moved to Lake Village, Arkansas to work in poverty alleviation and community development through education there. It is no exaggeration for me to say that I do what I do now because of what I learned volunteering with Mission Waco.
As I work in my town, I think about the principles that I saw in place at Mission Waco - working with people instead of for people and the idea of we instead of them. I evaluate my own efforts and the efforts of those around me through that lens. Last summer, I traveled back to Waco to seek the advice of Jimmy Dorrell, Kathy Wise, and McKenzie Miller as we continue in our community development efforts in Lake Village. I have seen what is happening in Waco, and I want to see that same love and growth take over in my town. I am increasingly impressed by the work that Mission Waco does and also incredibly grateful for the chance to have been a part of it.
Mission Waco is changing the lives of people and families in Waco itself, but their impact continues to expand as their volunteers—people like me—branch out and continue this Kingdom work in more and more cities across the country.