As many of you know, my church puts on an after school program (Attic After School) three days a week for Middle and High School students. This past Saturday, four of our kids got to be on a radio show. During the show the host, J.R. Pittman, asked the kids questions about their experience in the After School program. Even though I know these students through my work with the program, their answers to his questions were still enlightening, and encouraging to me.
Here are 5 things I learned:
1) Jasmine’s name is really Beyonce, or so she said on the radio. Did I mention these students are goofy?
2) Students are coming because of their friends. The host asked each of the students why they came to Attic After School. They all answered, “because my friends invited me.” This is really encouraging to me. We haven’t been growing because of marketing but because of word of mouth. And why would students invite their friends? It must really be a fun, encouraging place to hang out.
3) Students that ask tough questions appreciate that we do our best to answer them. Jasmine/Beyonce asks some of the toughest questions during our “Talk Time.” On the radio program she admitted she doesn’t really want to call herself a Christian because she is still trying to understand the Bible. She said she really appreciates that the leaders answer questions during and after Talk Time.
4) Personal testimonies matter. One of the students, Carlos, mentioned that he was really drawn to the Attic because one of our leaders, Darwin, shared his personal testimony. This was something that Carlos could really relate to. Add to that the fact that Darwin is a great mentor to so many of these kids and it’s no wonder we’re seeing many of our students experience significant spiritual growth.
5) The students feel safe and welcome. We are a distinctly evangelical Christian organization. Our students, on the other hand, come from a wide range of backgrounds and spiritual beliefs. We don’t shy away from tough topics (homosexuality, hell, etc.). Still, the students on the radio – made up of those who don’t share many of our beliefs – said they felt safe and welcomed when they come. Some kids even walked out during one of our Talk Times, yet they keep coming back. I think that’s a testimony to the power of the gospel and the patient kindness of our volunteers.
Bonus: Savon has a radio voice.