At the Congregational Meeting, the update on our refugee co-sponsorship project included the news that Martin, the 15-year-old, has been targeted (along with two friends) by gangs in their school. One boy was beaten up and then shot (still in the hospital); the other was beaten up; and Martin was poked, ridiculed and threatened. All three stopped going to school due to their fears; a few days later they were told they had to go back to school.
One of our volunteers (Kristen) said she would be willing to have Martin live with her in Libertyville to the end of the school year and she could get them into school there. The parents immediately agreed with great relief, and two days later he was enrolled! Karen K. says that all the teachers involved are eager to help him succeed——he has a long way to go! Meanwhile, Theresa M., one of our key organizers much involved with the family, sent the following note.
A little story for you:
Today (Friday) Martin came to my house after work to study Biology. Later on Kristen, Mike and Maya came over for dinner. And then Gloria and Jack picked up Martin to go do something fun. As he was getting ready to leave, Kristen stopped him and asked, “How was this week?” Kristen wanted to know how Martin was feeling after a whirlwind of a week, lots of studying and a completely new environment. After she asked he paused and was having a hard time remembering a word. He said “Reese, remember that word you taught me, that one above happy? That one!”
Two weeks prior I had been working with Martin on the names for different emotions. He had been having a very difficult time and most of the emotions kept circling back to fear, anger and sadness. We then tried to identify different levels of positive feelings. Ok: when nothing is bad but also not positive. Good: Things are going well but you may not be smiling all the time. Happy: when you are smiling, laughing and a full of positive vibes. Joy: when your heart is so full of positive feelings that you are overwhelmed by it. He was able to give me examples of when he had felt all those feelings but not Joy. He said that he had never felt that.
I said “Joy? That was the feeling above happy.”
“Yes! That! I feel Joy this week.”
And then we got hugs. It was a wonderful moment!