Little Lights Urban Ministries

2013 Winter Newsletter

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LITTLE LIGHTS TIMES WINTER 2013 ACT JUSTLY. LOVE MERCY. WALK HUMBLY WITH GOD. 760 7th Street SE Washington, D.C. 20003 202. 548. 4021 www.littlelights.org CFC# 89156 | UW# 8543 HOPKINS CENTER Steady Growth Week After Week It's been more than three months since the doors of the Hopkins Center first opened to welcome students for the start of the fall semester, and since then we've only become more certain that God wants us to be there. Crystal Jenkins and Steve Park A LETTER FROM STEVE Raising Up Leaders from Within There is a Chinese proverb that serves as a reminder for us to approach our community with a learning attitude and to be a place of empowerment for the residents we serve and not just a place of charity. We are committed for the longhaul at Potomac Gardens and Hopkins and want to develop leaders from within and not simply provide services. We believe that leadership development is crucial, because leaders who come from within the community already have well-established relationship networks, common experiences, and trust. Our long-term vision is a day when youth who grow up in our programs become senior staff, join our Board of Directors, or even take my job as Executive Director. We currently employ twenty residents from the two housing communities in administrative roles, programw management roles, and on the Clean Green Go to the people, Live among them, Learn from them, Love them. Start with what they know, Build on what they have. But of the best leaders, When their task is done, The people will remark, "We have done it ourselves." Lao Tsu, Ancient Chinese Proverb Team, our landscaping microenterprise and job training program. These talented staffers exhibit leadership by helping our students with homework, helping serve meals, chaperoning on van rides, providing recreational activities, and providing caring relationships with kids, teens, adults, and families from their community. Crystal Jenkins grew up in our program since the age of eight. Her smile has always been infectious, but her childhood was never easy. As a child, she came faithfully to Little Lights programs and came back as an adult to work for Little Lights part-time as program staff. This fall, Crystal became fulltime staff along with Leslie Bryant who started out with us in High School as an intern. Crystal helps to coordinate programs in our new facility at Hopkins public housing as well as work with the choir, Saturday programs, the Gathering, and the Family Center. She has grown tremendously in the past two years and is (continued on page 2) After a slow first week, kids started to stream in – first 7, then 13, then 21, to a current total of 35 kids enrolled. And each week at least one new parent asks for an application. [Students are] sometimes choosing to miss Chill Station in order to finish their homework. When asked why numbers have continued to increase, Karmen Taylor, our new Hopkins Center Program Manager, attributed it to the genuine sense of love present at the Hopkins Center. Kids know they are loved and parents can sense that Little Lights cares for their family's well-being. Karmen also feels that the leadership of Crystal Jenkins, one of our Program Coordinators, has been a crucial element in the ongoing growth at Hopkins. Crystal grew up attending Little Lights programs, so she knows many of (continued on page 7)

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