Looking Beyond Yourself
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. – Henry Ford
Every summer for the past seven years, Square Mile has been one of several non-profits we work with during Mission Week. The rest of the list varies from year to year, but volunteering at Square Mile has formed the basis of our week of service.
Abandoned. Undesirable. Unlovely. It was “just” a barren lot – full of weeds and rocks and lost potential.
That’s all anyone saw until a group of like-minded people came together who recognized the value laying buried beneath the rubble of abuse and neglect. “It could be such a blessing to the community around it!” “Imagine what love and effort could reap!” So, they removed what didn’t belong and replaced it with fertile soil. They watered. They planted. They pulled weeds. They added structure. As it bloomed, the transformation was evidence of the project’s worthiness.
Still, it was e.n.d.l.e.s.s. effort, as a garden is. At times, the vision seemed too hard; the labor, too menial; the day-to-day, too routine. Thankfully, partnerships are life-giving energy to endeavors such as this. When others come alongside to support and lend a hand, everything (and everyone!) is revitalized, and the mission can continue.
The work isn’t so different, when you think about it – that of the 6th Street garden of Square Mile Community Development and that of Amarillo Children’s Home. Cooperation between the two strengthens both and makes the journey more meaningful.
For the past seven years, the kids and adults of ACH have worked on the 6th Street lot-turned-garden during our summer Mission Week. We began in the very beginning – when, to all appearances, it was just a useless lot – removing chunks of concrete and hauling in dirt one wheelbarrow at a time. We have shoveled and dug until our backs ached and sweat stung our eyes. We have moved fences, built fences, built planting boxes and planted flowers. We have pulled up weeds and laid down mulch. Our kids have learned the fulfilling satisfaction of a hard day’s work and felt the happy exhaustion of a day spent outside in grueling effort for someone else’s benefit.
We have seen our efforts flourish – in the garden, in our mutual organizations and in the hearts and lives of our kids and adults. We’ve watched kids act with purpose and discover their identity, reveling in God’s goodness as they reflect kindness back to the community of Amarillo.
We are blessed by a similar story of cultivation and cooperation within our own little community. When companies and individual donors like you come alongside us in the great adventure to ask what needs to be planted, we, too, are rejuvenated. From sunscreen drives to gas money, from providing back-to-school supplies to supplying the funds to pay our electric bill – YOU, our partners consistently respond with open hearts for these children.
It is a double blessing for us when partners support our mission, because we know the return for each donor is a harvest of joy.