It’s 8:30 am on Tuesday, it’s time to pick up students and already we have one team leader down due to illness and are bracing for the possibility of the day being wild. Both vans head out to collect students from their homes and deliver them to Tiqvah to start their day with breakfast before programming. Groggy grins and sleepy eyes greet our staff as students enter the doors. It is in the early moments of Pop-tarts and jokes before our day begins that fill our staff with optimism for the day. What a good first day it was too! Moving through our time table is so much more relaxed in the summer as our pressures do not revolve around the school day. We get to make decisions like taking more time for gym and art, inviting new students into the program, and fun field trips. Already with our students we have had the chance to share important truths including: we have to get ready to share Christ with others, each of us is a masterpiece from God, our environment deserves care and service just like people do, and that we at Tiqvah love our time with them.
The truth that we love our time with our students is something that isn’t communicated through our activities. It is shown through the hearts of our staff and volunteers. I love my job because I get to witness relationships growing and the love of Christ shown wherever we go. Our first field trip this summer was to Boettler Park in Green and was a perfect example of how great our staff is. Our students spent time hiking, playing on the playground, and even launching water balloons from a giant slingshot. Three other programs serving children were also present and participating in some of the same activities. Seemingly you would think we fall into a blur of children and matching t-shirts. So what makes Tiqvah different from these programs? Our amazing leaders. As I looked around the playground I saw so many adults sitting on their phones, talking with other leaders or standing back to watch the kids. None of them were my staff. Not only was our team playing and spending time with our kids but reaching out to make the playground fun for any kid who approached them. In a simple moment of surveying a playground I was blown away by the passion that my team has for kids. It is in these times of play that our kids see their leaders’ desire for quality time with them.