Crystal Flores, PT Corps Member at Munger Place Church
Project Transformation (PT) has always been my second home. Being a Kid to Corps Member (I attended the program as a child participant and now I work for the program as a PT Corps Member), I have so many memories of my summers spent at PT and can recollect all of the college students who invested so much in my life. At the start of this summer, I knew this program would soon establish relationships not only between the Members, but with the children we work with as well. I serve as a PT Corps Members working with the middle school-aged students at Munger Place and I can attest to the nervousness every one of us faced that first day at our program site. Prior to the start of the summer, I was unsure if I would be capable of standing before a group of young teenagers and establishing a connection of some sort with them. I had so many doubts and was very timid. What if the kids did not like me? What if I couldn’t relate? What if they didn’t want to open up? What if I couldn’t’ impact their lives like past PT Corps Members did for me? I could not help but feel as if I was back in high school seeking to fit in and be accepted.
“Munger kids are great,” a past PT Corps Member told me as I expressed my concerns to him before my first day. From day one, I knew his words to be true! Upon our initial meeting, I could clearly see just how passionate each and every one of the kids are. They are so unique and have different ambitions. They are also so passionate to learn. They express their desire to grow in their faith, increase their literacy abilities, and they have set attainable goals for the summer. After a couple weeks into the summer when I thought I could not be any more impressed with my group of kids, I began to see how compassionate and kind -hearted they truly are as well. They are so insightful and creative and it continues to amaze me every day!
When the weeks started to pass along and almost started to feel as if it were a monotonous routine, one particular incident opened my eyes. It was during a morning activity when the realization hit me like a ton of bricks. We were doing an activity where each student had a notecard with their name on it and they had to pass it around in a circle. Each student was told to write at least one word or phrase that was either encouraging or uplifting about the person whose card they received. As the activity came to an end, we each had to opportunity to read the comments on our cards. One comment struck me to the core: “You make us feel important”.
This one statement spoke volumes to me. If there was one thing I could give to these children, it would be that! Making these young teens feel loved and valued is something I will forever be grateful of doing. I realized I have the ability to play a tremendous role in each of their lives. Project Transformation is not just another summer job, it is an opportunity — a life transforming opportunity! My position is a blessing. I get to spend four days out of the week sharing my heart with kids who need to know they are loved and are important. I get to reveal to them their potential to do great things in this world. This job gives me the chance to invest in the lives of our future generation. Although this is a big task, it is a beautiful one!