Part #2: Truly Transforming Lives

Jaime Newton, Site Coordinator at Grace UMC 

Now that I have committed to a year of service with the Afterschool Program, I have experienced more of the highs and lows that come with moving to a new place and finding myself. I have realized that during this transitional time in my life, I still have so much to learn. This year is a blessing in many ways, but that does not always make it an easy transition. Life back at home does not come to a stop and I have missed out on many events, both good and bad. However, every event that I’ve missed back at home has been a moment of growth, a learning opportunity, or a time of finding myself through Project Transformation, and for that, I am thankful. The kids that I work with everyday remind me why I decided to stay in Dallas for a year of service.


Through my experience with the Afterschool Program, my kids have reminded me of some special parts of life that I sometimes forget:

  1. Always Be a Pal

My kids can be mad at each other one minute, and then the next minute, they are playing tag together on the playground. I have seen them help each other with homework, give each other a hug on a bad day, and laugh at something funny together. Let’s be honest, we all just want a few good pals in this life.

  1. It is Okay to Mess Up

This is one of our rules at Grace UMC. The kids will always make sure to remind each other that it is indeed okay to mess up when they misspell a word or make a mistake. I have been learning that adults are often hard on themselves during times of mess-ups too, and I am trying really hard to practice what I preach.

  1. Celebrate Accomplishments

I watch as my kids celebrate finishing homework, having a good day at school, reading a whole book, and making a new pal. I want to celebrate life’s accomplishments that way too. I just graduated from college in July and I did not slow down to celebrate the biggest accomplishment of my life thus far. Therefore, this year, I am promising to celebrate all of the big and small successes life brings my way, all thanks to my kids.


  1. Bad Days are Inevitable

Plain and simple we all have bad days, but tomorrow is a fresh start. My kids have been teaching me that it’s okay to not be okay today, for tomorrow is a brand new day. They remind me that each new day comes with grace, new joys, and a time to keep growing.

  1. Just Worry About Today

My kids spend their time being present and focused on today. I want to strive to be present this year as well. I want to be intentional about enjoying life right where I am. I am so lucky that I am in a season of life where I get to play on a playground with some cool kids, dance in the rain on the weekends, and just spend time finding myself.


Thanks to my Project Transformation community, my Pleasant Mound UMC kiddos, and my Grace UMC kiddos for teaching me so many lessons on loving my life and myself over these past few months. I am so excited to see what the rest of the year brings!



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