George and Ginny Greene have been mentoring RJ and Kayla through the After School Program for over 3 years now. Back when they first heard about CHAT through members of their church at St. Giles Presbyterian, George and Ginny both felt they were too busy to take on another responsibility. Now George wonders, “why don’t more people do this?”
Outside of the weekly mentoring sessions, Ginny takes Kayla out to get her nails done, George takes RJ bowling, and they’ve enjoyed activities together like going to the zoo. George and Ginny have emphasized building relationships with the families of RJ and Kayla. As mentors, George and Ginny desire to come alongside parents who are already doing an amazing job. Both Kelly (Kayla’s mom) and Chiquita (RJ’s mom) have made sure their children are in schools where they benefit from a small, focused, Christian education. Ginny says, “These moms are on it to really fight to try and keep their kids where they feel like they’ll get the best assistance.”
During their time mentoring, both George and Ginny have seen RJ and Kayla grow in character and flourish in their personalities. When George first met RJ, he easily got angry and would shut down, responses driven by the toxic stress of poverty. But over time, George has seen RJ communicate better and learn how to handle his emotions. RJ is a very bright kid, and George is honored to encourage and affirm RJ that he can accomplish whatever he sets his mind to.
For all the time they’ve given to the kids, George and Ginny feel like they’ve gotten so much more in return. As they’ve built relationships with these families in the East End, they’ve seen their ideas and impressions of cultural differences challenged. Ginny has noticed how her perceptions have changed: “I’ll walk down the street, and I’ll look at someone totally different than I would have five years ago.”
They’ve both learned what it means to build trust across cultural barriers. Being a part of RJ’s and Kayla’s lives has motivated them to want to do more. George believes it was not an accident that the Lord put him and Ginny with these two young people.
This story originally appeared in the 2017-2018 Annual Report.