Last week I posted some new pictures to the website. I was intending to write a blog post about all the fun we have at the Center. I was going to comment how there is so much more that we need to do at the Center than simply distribute food and clothing. Instead we need to create a friendly environment. There are many good people that live in this community and we want to reflect all that is good here. We want our neighbors to be proud to be associated with the Center and view us as a place that highlights the good that exists in this community.
Consequently, we try hard on creating a fun environment for people whether that be a haunted warehouse during Halloween, breakfast with Santa, or a neighborhood ice cream social. Simply put, I do not feel like writing this type of post.
On Sunday afternoon, I talked with two boys from our mentoring program. Dominic is 13 years old and David is 9 years old. They are brothers. On Saturday, their oldest brother Jer’ray was the city’s latest murder victim when he was killed in broad daylight off 83rd and Underwood. In general, I am not very good at comforting people when there has been a death. For Dominic and David, I could offer even less. They have questions that I do believe have answers. On a daily basis, these boys overcome challenges that most of us would find troubling, inspiring, and daunting. Even so, every time I see them they remain upbeat. This was not the case on Sunday. How do you explain to a child that their brother was murdered for no reason?
I was equally troubled by the fact that these boys could not simply mourn their brothers’ death. When talking with Dominic and David, they were brainstorming how they were going to pay for the funeral. It shocked me that the two boys would have to think about not only burying their brother but also putting together the necessary money so their brother could be buried. This is a 9 year old and a 13 year old that want to do a car wash or host a dinner not so they can buy a video game or pay for sports equipment. Instead they are raising money for their brother’s funeral.
All this being said, no matter how ridiculous it may sound I am thankful I get to work at a place like the Heart Ministry Center. It is nice to be able to do fun events like scavenger hunts and neighborhood block parties, however, I realize this is not the main reason the Center exists. We are here to help out people, who have nowhere else to turn. The Center exists for people like Dominic and David. In this instance, the Center is making a sizeable contribution so Dominic and David do not have to worry about whether their brother will ever get buried. Dominic and David have enough to worry about and deal with right now. Paying for a funeral is not something they need to be concerned with. This is why the Center is here.