It all began with an idea, a passion, and a simple drawing.
Have you ever wondered what could truly happen when God’s children join their hearts, gifts, and passions together? Not only that, but with a sole purpose of blessing others while expecting nothing in return? I was honored to catch a glimpse of what that would look like this weekend at Salem Dream Center.
Every Saturday morning, a group of volunteers walk a few blocks to a low-income apartment complex that we have “adopted.” We round up the ready, waiting, and giggling kids to take them to Walker Middle School. We then proceed to play games, make crafts, eat snacks, and provide a safe and loving environment for them. Every week it’s an adventure to say the least.
This Saturday seemed no different than the last few Saturdays. But this time, we had a surprise for the kids. Rethink Monthly offered to partner with us, along with the community, to provide 140 custom T-shirts for the kids. They were able to use artwork that had been “face painted” on a little girl’s arm that said “I Heart Dream Center.” Little did we know the blessing that image would become.
Today was the day the kids were waiting for. The T-shirts had finally arrived.
The first thing every child did was put it on. Immediately. And every single little face that popped out of the shirt was covered with some of the most precious smiles I have ever seen. I began to think. What was it about a T-shirt that could bring that sort of joy? What was the real reason for that smile? As I began to look around I saw white “I HEART DREAM CENTER” shirts absolutely everywhere, it dawned on me. I believe the kids realized that the t-shirts symbolized something bigger than just “something to wear.” It symbolized someone cared for them. Someone gave them a gift. Someone they may never have met loved them enough to bless them. All of a sudden they were not alone as they looked around. They were included, accepted, and had a place to belong, together. It wasn’t just about a t-shirt anymore. It was about what those T-shirts represented. And what they represented was that they were ALL valued and wanted.
What a gift to give a child.
To you and me, it may just be a shirt. But every precious smile we witnessed today said so much more. Thank you to every single person who selflessly gave their time, resources, and gifts into blessing these precious kids. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Article by Lindsay Blackman, on behalf of Craig Oviatt and the Salem Dream Center. You can find out more about the Dream Center by visiting their Facebook site at www.facebook.com/SalemDreamCenter.