7 Picnics To Go!

A note from our Executive Director:
I was fine with doing this little picnic in the park until I held that baby. Tiny…so very tiny… Her Momma already overwhelmed with children and life. This little baby is so docile, barely able to stay awake, while chaos whirls around her.

I was fine with doing this little picnic until I realized how hard it would be to watch the little boy stuff his pants pockets with extra food for later. He’s got bright eyes and even though I think he’s overdoing it on the chips, he can pretty much take as much as he wants while I’m working the table.

I was fine with doing this little picnic until a woman whose mouth usually pours out venom and disgust began to soften and start speaking of hope and kindness. I really liked not liking her… now I know how she lives. I see her struggles and I realize the venom is not there to strike at me but she spews it to protect herself.

I’m fine with the doing this little picnic in the park thing, I am making friends with new folks every week. Empower Youth was started to provide financial resources and willing volunteers to reach in to the lives of those children and young families in Bethel who need a hand up. It was started to encourage children to keep setting the bar higher in school and in their relationships until they become adults who make a difference in our community.

What I didn’t know when I started Empower Youth was the beautiful by-product of seeing Dads play with their children in a non-threatening, non-internet, plugged in environment. What I didn’t know when I started Empower Youth was that Moms would begin calling and texting new friends asking for advice. I just didn’t see that coming!

Empower Youth has now finished the month of June and we still have 7 picnics left—what can happen in these next 7 picnics??? Who will come? Who will partner with us in resources?

As the Empower Youth team takes on this next month of picnics and begins to plan for tutoring programs and special family events in the Fall, the future is bright. We are dreaming big dreams for our children and teens. The Empower Youth leadership team is stepping out of our comfort zones every day trying to raise funds for our community. We personally are leveraging our own resources until other organizations join us in fighting for the youth and young families of Bethel. Are we excited? Yes! Are we nerve-wracked? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes!

The little village of Bethel, a town so easily overlooked, is worth every last ounce of effort. The youth and families of Bethel can be more than a poverty or drug statistic in Clermont County. Empower Youth wants to invest in our greatest resource– our Youth! We want to change the stats to reflect independent young men and women who have set their mind to do even greater things than they ever thought possible.

See you in the park!
Lori Conley

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