“Thank you for providing our school with goodie bags for girls that included feminine hygiene products and a make up surprise. When they pick out a bag and I tell them that someone they have never met before collected these items for them, they are bit confused. Then we have a conversation about how someone in this world cares about them. The look of fear and horror that was overwhelming them when they first walked in turns into a smile.”
Promise Council events can change a child’s life. One fifth grade boy thought he wouldn’t make it through high school, due to the violence around him. He had no plans to go to college or enter the workforce. While participating in the Promise Council’s Opening Doors Program, he was exposed to local campus life at Illinois State University, and the possibilities that exist for him after high school. He now refers to ISU as “his school”. He tells everyone who will listen: “That is where I am going after I graduate!
I have put my babies on a bus to preschool, had our first days of Kindergarten, etc. and I have never shed a tear during these momentous events. Well, today was different. Today I sent my first baby to the Jr. High for band. She's not in Jr. High yet, but that is where band happens. We were all excited. None of us were nervous. I wasn't expecting tears from anyone; least of all, me. When we arrived, I could hear this happy hollering and as we got closer to the building, I realized what was going on. There were dozens of adults standing on either side of where we were walking cheering ALL the kids on; genuine love and laughter. It was an incredible experience. I am so grateful for the welcoming and love shown to us and to every single student that arrived at Bloomington Junior High School this morning. That kindness brought me to tears.
Our world flipped upside down when my husband, at age 34 suffered a stroke. He had to re-learn basic functions like walking, feeding and dressing himself. He couldn't work. With five children to raise, it wasn’t long before frustration and exhaustion led to hopelessness. Then Promise Council stepped in. They gave us gas cards to fill up our van so I could go to work. Our children received food, clothing, classroom supplies and after-school mentoring. The generosity helped us immensely. Life started to get better, and we started to breathe easier. Today, our family has made it their mission to give back to the Promise Council. We want to pay it forward to the Promise Council so it can continue lifting families up.