How Urban Hope/Perkins Center Exchange Program Changed My Life
Story from Ronika Daye - Urban Hope Counselor-in-Training
This year I was a CIT 2 (a Counselor-In-Training is a former camper who assists counselors at the Urban Hope summer camp. The goal is to help them learn to become counselors themselves). This portion of the CIT program consisted of an exchange from Urban Hope to an internship at the Spencer Perkins Center in Jackson, Mississippi. The mission of the center and camp was to promote Christian values, education, the arts, and community. While at the camp, I was responsible for helping teach rising third and fourth graders in addition to being a dance teacher. In the classroom, I was brought to overcome many challenges as a "teacher". I have little experience in this area and wanted to do well. I learned to trust myself and my abilities. I also learned that all people can learn from others, regardless of their age.
In our living communities I was faced with the challenge of living with strangers for the first time. I had to learn how to live with different personalities and views and opinions. I also dealt with learning how to purchase groceries for myself in reasonable rations, and how to manage my money. During the week we would also have Bible studies with Dr. John M. Perkins. This allowed us to see him on an intimate and personal level. His words were very encouraging and thought provoking. We as interns were pushed to new levels mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
This entire experience is one that I will never forget. It taught me so much in so many ways. This summer also came at such an imperative time. I was a fresh high school graduate and this internship was a perfect warm up for college. All in all, I learned how to trust in myself and give myself more credit than I have been. I began not letting others' opinions hold me back and determine my capabilities. I also gained a new level of trust and respect for God. I am getting closer to understanding His plan for me and truly acknowledging His never ending love for me. I thank God and Urban Hope for allowing me to have this opportunities. It was one that I will always cherish.
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