Often good things start in small ways. In my local paper today is a headline, ‘Youf Gang makes a big difference in community.’ It’s the first of a new series of monthly columns written by this particular Youf Gang. *
‘Hello, my name is Mohammed, and I am the chairman of the … Youf Gang,’ it begins. It goes on to describe how the gang helps the community with litter picking, doing things in the park and holding events to bring the community together. They’ve also held fundraising events and raffles to raise money for the group. They plan these events at regular meetings, where, most of the time, parents attend. They’ve also been taken on trips to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge and to Buckingham Palace. There are 10 members and a supervisor, who works in Gwent Police. Smalll beginnings, but with big potential.
What a fabulous initiative! Whoever thought it up deserves an MBE. I loved the way the report begins with, ‘My name is Mohammed…’
I’m going to write and suggest that the youngsters could also get involved in visiting isolated older people in the community, and perhaps in local care homes. And pray that this initiative doesn’t fizzle out, as so many do, because of lack of funding. Last year the activities coordinator of a local care home noticed how residents’ moods improved when youngsters came in, with a depressed, elderly man coming right out of his shell, so she persuaded a nearby children’s nursery to arrange regular visits. But it meant the nursery had to employ someone extra to help. The care home appealed to some regional charities and raised enough cash, to keep it going for a while at least.
The best ideas usually come from people on the ground, those who are where the rubber hits the road so to speak, but raising money is tough these days. If we didn’t know the God of infinite resources we would despair at times. The closing verses of Chapter 3 in Ephesians lift our spirits:
‘Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.’
More than we can ask or think! Glory! The next verse says it well: ‘Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.’
Do pray for Mohammed’s Youf Gang, and for more funding for all good works like this, including care homes – and not forgetting us at Pilgrims’ Friend Society.