Recap of Summer Youth Initiative

August 28, 2013

francis crop


Frances Greenlee, a student at Eastern University, offers her thoughts at the end of her time at BSM as one of the Summer Youth Initiative Staff.  If you want to know more about being on summer staff or bringing a group of students to BSM please contact Erika Funk, Youth Initiative Minister, at Erika@broadstreetministry.org



This summer, I have…

  • fallen madly in love with the city of Philadelphia and been inspired by it’s overwhelming depth and beauty.
  • discovered my passion for gardening and creating sustainable food sources for low income neighborhoods in an urban context.
  • watched the hearts of hundreds of youth be transformed and their perspectives be shattered and rebuilt into Kingdom visions.
  • been a part of family that leads together, cries together, sweats together, and loves together (I cannot thank you enough Erika Funk, Layton Williams, Angel Mendoza, Amanda Huels, Yared Portillo, and Chris Palmer).
  • served over 900 hours alongside brilliant youth and under awe-inspiring founders and leaders passionately fighting for a more just Philadelphia.
  • built relationships with people that have more often than not, not been given the chance to tell their story.
  • had my heart ripped open realizing I, myself, do not have the power to change the world.
  • seen God alive and at work in strange places, small spaces, and in unrecognizable faces.
  • put my faith in action.
  • seen with my own two eyes what brokenness looks like, what freedom looks like, and what redemption looks like.
  • been humbled and empowered.
  • realized how central diversity, community, and relationship are to my being, life, and future mission.

This summer, while I personally cannot change the world by myself, have realized change is freedom, change is love, change is diversity, change is relationship, change is stories, change is NOW. Tell me it’s not, and I’ll show you where it is; I have witnessed it.

As I sit here by the water on my week “vacation” before heading back to Eastern University on Wednesday, I cannot help but think of the Frances at this point last summer. I can distinctly remember not having a care in the world and being totally content because I had no burdens, stresses, or worries. Now as I sit in the same place, this very second, I desperately yearn to be on the streets of Philadelphia with my brothers and sisters talking, listening, laughing, and feeling their hurts and needs because their hearts are my heart and I would not want it any other way.

Erika asked us on our very first day at Broad Street Ministry what is ‘home’ for each of us. I remember saying I wasn’t really sure, which is still true to a certain extent. However, I would like to expand on that answer just a little bit because this summer has made me realize that I WILL NEVER TRULY BE ‘HOME’ (what that means I haven’t figured out yet) UNTIL WE, as the city of Philadelphia, as the poor and the rich, as the black and the white, as the atheist and the Christian, as the male and the female, as the weak and the strong ARE ALL HOME.