Tammy* was 8 years old when she was referred to us by a social service agency. “This little girl needs a mentor,” was all they told us. When we went to Tammy’s home to do the intake interview, we found an adorable, tiny, talkative little girl living with her mentally challenged mom. Her dad had recently been sent to jail.
Vince* asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up, “I am going to wipe tables and sweep floors at Wendy’s like my mom,” she said. We matched Tammy with Donna*. They met every week. They fed the ducks at the park, loved to fish and go crabbing at Captree. They played checkers and hopscotch. Donna taught Tammy to ride a bike and took her to a restaurant where she did not unwrap the food. Every week, Donna said things like: “Tammy, you will be someone special. You know I want a ticket to your graduation. I can’t wait to see what special things God is going to do through you.”
When Tammy was 11, she asked Jesus to be her Lord, and God the Father filled the void of fatherlessness. The church became a family. When Tammy was in junior high school, she started talking with Donna about graduation from high school. She started thinking about being the first person in her family to go to college. Last May, Donna went to Tammy’s college graduation. Yes, she had a ticket.
This August, Tammy got a job as a social worker at the same social service agency that referred her to Long Island Youth Mentoring 14 years ago. The cross that hangs around her neck every day as she goes to work is more than jewelry. It is a sign of God’s transformational work. The Kingdom of God has another foot soldier ministering the Father’s love to the fatherless.
by John Cragg