By Shelby Hall, Outreach Worker / Role Model Moms Teacher at Jane-Finch
Over the years, I have found that the idea of choice is also the same idea as hope. Knowing about alternatives is also knowing that you have power. This is a great motivator when working with kids… it’s also a great motivator when dealing with adults as well. Teaching women with “Role Model Moms” gives me the opportunity to share what choices an adult can make. Many of my students have limited options, admittedly. They all have families to feed and for whom they need to provide. However, many of them start my class just with a ‘feeling’ that they ‘want’ their GED, their high school diploma. Many of them don’t even know why… they don’t know many people in their family who have a high school diploma, so why should it matter. However, when we get to talk about the doors that will be opened for them; they are still staring at unknown territory… how do they afford post-secondary education? How do they make a resume? How do they upgrade? What does ‘upgrade’ even mean? As they accomplish a goal, a new set of choices opens up to them. This is the same with the children that we work with. They often come to our programs with only one set of behaviours. Sometimes, these behaviours have served them well in the past, but no longer are helpful in a school or camp setting. As role models, it is now our job to tell them about choices. They can choose to use their words, choose to talk to an adult, choose to walk away, and with those choices there opens up a new world of success as well. God has always worked on this system. Galatians 3:28 tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Our starting point is all the same, we are wiped clean of our past and we can start fresh in to a new future. I am constantly encouraged when I walk with my students through new terrain and see them encounter the possibility of more than mere survival; but instead, into discovering the possibilities that God has given them.