We want to introduce you to the incredible women that make up our SBSK team. Our Site Coordinators are the heart behind what we do and we wouldn’t be able to encourage hearts and inspire minds without them leading the way.
This week, we’re introducing you to Liz Mitchell, our Site Coordinator at Mollie Barrington Elementary! Here's Liz to tell you more about her story!
I’m from Round Rock, Texas (just north of Austin). I was born here, grew up here and then went to school here at UT Austin, so I’ve basically spent my whole life in the Austin area. Right before Side by Side Kids, I completed an 8 month long leadership and discipleship training program in Tyler, Texas called the Forge. There I had theology training, lived in community with 27 other Forge students, and went on several trips including one to Israel last spring.
I decided to work at Side by Side Kids because I believe in the life-changing ministry that we have the privilege to take part in every day. Every day we teach kids about the gospel, we get to know each student on an individual basis and get to specifically encourage them to grow into the godly man or woman that God has intended and created them to be. We are providing services that meet a very tangible need - an afterschool program to help students succeed and move onto the next grade level - and when you pair that with telling kids about the love of Jesus and tangibly showing them that love, there is truly nothing more rewarding.
I’ve seen so much growth in so many of my students from the beginning of the year, both academically and in their character. For example, I had a student who started the third week of program. On his very first day, he came up to me and said, “just so you know I’m a bad kid.” I told him that I didn’t believe that about him and that even if you make bad choices sometimes, you can still be a good kid.
Last week (the fifth week of program) he had a really rough day at school. I found him upset and crying in the hallway before program started. I let him sit on his own while I passed out the snack to all the other students. Once snack was over, I asked him if he wanted to talk about what happened today. He nodded yes, and told me that he didn't listen to his art teacher and chased another student after that student called him a mean name.
I told him that his feelings of anger, hurt, and frustration are valid and understandable because that was not nice of the other student to say. I asked him if we can control our emotions. He replied, “yes?” I told him, “No, we can’t control what we feel - our emotions - however, we can control our reactions and our response to them. You can choose to let this emotion take over the rest of your day, or you can choose to turn your day around. Your reaction is your choice.”
As I cleaned up the cafeteria after snack, he continued to sit on the stage thinking. He came up to me and tapped on my shoulder, “Ms. Liz, I’m going to choose to turn my day around.” I was so happy that I almost cried. “I am so proud of you,” I said, and we went back to his class. He truly did choose to turn his day around and he participated in everything for the rest of the day with a positive attitude.
This is just one story of one student’s transformation I have seen in the past few weeks of program. This is why I do what I do.
I am so excited to see the way my students continue to grow throughout the rest of the year! I’ve already seen so much growth and transformation so I can’t wait to see what else the Lord has in store.
Will you join Liz in serving our Side by Side Kids students with an End-0f-Year gift today? We count on contributions like yours to continue running a high quality program and stay consistent in the lives of our kids. By giving to this ministry, you are making an eternal impact.