God opened my eyes at camp.
Bayview Become, a six-day camp held at Rise Prep, welcomed seventeen kids between 9 to 14 years of age, with a number of them being either current or prospective students of Rise Prep.
We participated in a range of activities which included boxing, basketball, dissecting a squid, building rockets, and going to Fort Miley Ropes Course.
Volunteering at Bayview Become allowed me to witness and see how Redeemer Community Church and Rise Prep are partnering with God in His redemptive mission in the Bayview.
During the camp, James Boyd, the organizer, had journals for the kids to write down their goals for the week. It was then that I found out that some kids in 4th and 5th grade couldn’t spell ‘Monday’ or ‘Tuesday’, while others in the same grade were able to read thick books in the Harry Potter series. The difference in the abilities of students in the same grade was staggering. My initial surprise quickly turned into sadness as the reality of the situation hit me: inequality, which was an abstract idea that I discussed in sterile classrooms in college, now had a name and a face.
Getting a glimpse of how broken the current education system in the US is could easily have led me to anger or despair, but the time I spent at Bayview Become actually encouraged me greatly, for I also witnessed the work that Rise Prep is doing in the Bayview. Mariah, a current student of Rise Prep who participated in Bayview Become, comes from tough circumstances, but Rise Prep is committed to helping students like Mariah get a quality education. This gives me so much hope for Mariah and her family, and I believe that Mariah has a much better chance of being the woman that God intended her to be with the guidance of teachers like Tim Cahill, Danny Kim, Jeff Boyd, and Juliette Chien.
My time at Bayview Become also reminded me of Dostoyevsky’s words: “Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.” Working with the kids at Bayview Become was challenging in many ways, and loving them was a seemingly impossible demand at times. But the people who were part of the Bayview Become team encouraged me by their faithful and loving service despite the demanding circumstances at times. May we find the grace to love the neighborhood we are placed in, and may our love be part of Bayview Becoming what God intended it to be.