[story by Carolyn Boden, New Life volunteer]
“A new you… the same you but better.” That was the theme-of-the-day for the girls at New Life Children’s Center in Canyon Lake, when a group of 11 volunteers from ACTS Church Lakeway joined the New Life Chicktime group for a day that none of us will soon forget.
“Chicktime”* is the wonderful mother/daughter service group that is very active and involved at New Life. This was the first trip to New Life for our ACTS women’s group, and we were excited, but didn’t really know what to expect.
We left Austin around 6:30 a.m. and caravanned to San Marcos to pick up the daughter of one of our group at Texas State University, then we all headed to New Life. On the way we visited, watched the sun rise, and anticipated the day ahead.
At first we were just going to volunteer, but when Chicktime founder Lori Rhodes contacted us about leading a station, we knew God was asking more of us. I believe He had a bigger experience in mind for us that day. As it turned out, the time with the girls and the Chicktime volunteers had a huge impact on all of us.
Our group led a scrapbooking station where the girls designed the front of their personal journals. We also shared a handout with the girls, to give them ideas of what they could journal about and how journaling can tell a story of our journey with God.
Some of our group also volunteered in the zumba and yoga stations, or joined the girls as they moved from station to station.
We were very grateful to Nancy and Kelly of Chicktime, who answered all the questions we had before, during, and after the event. My heart was humbled as I experienced Christ’s love in each of the women who were there that day… their love of Christ for each other and for the girls.
ACTS Church Lakeway’s mission is “Sending Changed People into a Changing World” and as you read the quotes below from our group, you can see how we were all “changed” in one way or another on January 14th! I will always remember that special day, and am looking forward to being “SENT” on the next Chicktime event at New Life!
In their own words:
“Ashley and I discussed how those girls touched our lives more than they will ever know! We are looking forward to more time spent at Chicktime.”
“It’s a huge accomplishment to get the schedules of 11 busy women together, let alone be able to make a difference in the lives of some special kids.”
“I didn’t know what to expect and was struck by…just girls wanting to be girls – creating something beautiful…finding their favorite colors, words, patterns. We may never know what that brief time meant to them but certainly touched me giving me such a profound thankfulness for the blessings in my life and a desire to come back!“
“Attending a ChickTime event at the New Life Treatment Center was a privilege. The partnership between these two organizations to improve the lives of young women is inspirational. Leaving New Life that day, I knew I would be back very soon with ChickTime. As I wait for that day, I continue to pray for all those amazing girls who gave more to me than I possibly could have given them.”
“I was touched by the girls’ looking out for each other and thanking us for coming. The last two groups were smaller, allowing some one-on-one interaction. One young lady put her deceased Dad’s motto on her journal cover…and her son’s initials…my heart really went out to her. They were so creative, and the time seemed to fly. I’m looking forward to future visits.”
“One girl was really looking out for her friend and wanting to help her since her friend’s father had just passed away. Her friend’s father’s favorite Bible verse was John 3:16 and she found a sticker that had that verse on it. Although she wanted to use it on her journal, she really wanted her friend to have it. When she gave it to her friend, her friend just melted and thanked her. I was touched by the selfless act and compassion she showed. You could really see some of the friendships and bonds these girls have with each other.
I was touched when they took the time to thank us before they left. They weren’t prompted to do so but did. I can only hope my teens would do that in a similar instance.
I loved watching all their creative thinking going on….”
“I would echo the sentiment about the girls helping each other, especially if one was ahead of another. All the girls were very respectful and eager to follow through on the brief instructions. I thanked one girl for coming to share time with our station and she looked me in the eye and said “no, thank YOU” … to be sure I really knew she appreciated us there. Looking forward to going back again!”
*Chicktime is a grass roots movement created to serve the next generation, by bringing together groups of women using their unique gifts in the service of others. Chicktime New Life encourages the girls at the Center through fun projects that bring a bright spot to their lives.