i didn’t really tell anybody about it. but in the past few weeks, the idea became a reality.
delay middle school is a huge part of our community. the campus has always been different from the others in our district. reflective of the multi-cultural make-up our neighborhood, it’s also home to some of the poorest and most underprivileged kids in north texas.
delay is a “title 1” school. 84% of the student body is economically disadvantaged. 64% of the student body is identified as “at risk”. these figures are, by far, the highest in our school district. and this situation poses problems and challenges that cry out for help.
the staff and faculty of delay are amazing. i’ve been involved with low income schools throughout my life and i will tell you that these are some of the finest and most dedicated people i’ve ever met. they don’t serve and teach for the money or for the recognition that comes from high achievement. they teach for the love of kids.
but there’s still more to do. that’s where my idea comes in. it’s about the seventh and eighth grade girls volleyball teams. i watched them last fall and, well, let’s just say they could use a little help.
middle school coaches have the most thankless and impossible jobs around. especially at schools like delay. at most of the other schools in our district, the coaches inherit young athletes who have already had years of select competition and private coaching under their belt. that is not true at delay. especially in girls volleyball.
these girls have never played the game and there is simply no time in a middle school coaches schedule to teach them how. so in the fall, these girls play matches against other schools and get pounded. they have no skills…no confidence…and their seventh and eighth grade dignity is stripped every week. it’s sad and disheartening. but it doesn’t have to be this way.
in my former life, i was a college men’s and women’s volleyball coach. i grew up playing the game in southern california. it is my second favorite sport…right below baseball. so here’s my idea:
maybe we could run a volleyball camp this summer for the girls at delay. for free. give them a little of the experience and training that other young girls in the district get. and maybe even build some relationships that could extend off the volleyball court and into their lives.
so after a few months of prayer and planning and discussions, some things started happening in the past couple of weeks.
i’ve been able to meet sharlyn elliott…an amazing teacher at delay who is the founder of “bridges”…a non-profit enrichment program for students in need. you can read about it here and here. sharlyn is not just a dedicated teacher, but a passionate follower of jesus. her love for kids and for the kingdom is evident in everything she does.
…and starting next tuesday, north point is going to partner with sharlyn and bridges to put on a two-week volleyball camp for the girls of delay middle school!
the camp will run tuesday through friday (both weeks) from noon until 3:00 at the delay middle school gym. and because the girls will be signed up as part of the bridges enrichment program, that means they will already have transportation to and from the camp and will be provided breakfast and lunch at the school.
and the most awesome part of this whole plan is that we will be encouraged to build relationships with these girls…and their families…that can extend beyond the walls of delay. and because bridges is a non-profit religious organization that receives no money from the federal government, we are also encouraged to speak to the girls about our love for god and his love for them. amazing.
and did i mention…there are 46 girls signed up? i was thinking we might have 12-13!
needless to say, this happened in kind of a hurry, so i am looking for help. do you have the time and heart to make an investment in the lives of some kids that could last a lifetime?
if you have some background in volleyball, it would be great. but that’s not what’s most important. we need people who will meet the girls and get to know them, encourage them, and help me manage the details of running a camp. no small task!
are you up to the challenge? let me know.
also, we will probably see the opportunity for financial need beyond what we currently have in the north point coffers. things like providing the girls with good gym shoes for the season (next fall) or putting on another camp closer to the start of school…or helping personally when we get close enough to see some of the more pressing needs in their families.
so get ready to open your wallets. and start talking it up. maybe there’s some new connections in the neighborhood and business world we need to be making.
i love having friends and partners i can be honest with.