Raquel (Site Coordinator at Webb Primary) joined the SBSK staff Fall 2015 to help launch our program into our first new school. It has been a rewarding year, where God has been undeniably at work. One way Raquel saw God at work was on her last day of program. Here’s the conversation I had with her about it:
Tell me about your last day on campus!
We had our end of year showcase so it was a little frenzied. We had an amazing turnout, and the kids did great with their performances of what they learned about God this semester! Most families were in attendance - bringing with them an array of authentic Mexican food dishes and desserts for everyone! I felt very special because two of my classes and their parent’s presented me with flower bouquets. Before our summer showcase began, we prayed together and talked about how the Side by Side Kids staff prayed for their kids every day. We talked about how we saw changes in behaviors and more openness relationally in students’ lives. Lastly, we celebrated improved academics! One struggling student in particular, Alexis, improved greatly in literacy - which was my main focus.
That sounds like a great celebration! Why was literacy your main focus?
Well, where I come from, literacy wasn’t a priority. I believe if I would have started as a younger girl with literacy being a focus I would have done better in school. So that’s why it’s personally very important to me. I previously worked at Barnes and Noble as a children’s department lead and I currently volunteer with the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation through Austin Republican Women. When arrived at Webb last fall, I learned my students were ESL kids and I knew that I could use my passions to help improve their academic success.
Tell me more about her letter.
There are 2 people on the front, her and I, I assume. On the inside it says, “You’re the best teacher ever, Ms. Raquel! I practiced cursive today. This is me writing in cursive. I tried my best.” That really touched my spirit because I tell my students, “We always need to try our best” and there it was, written so sweetly on her card. I was beaming and overjoyed because she remembered the words I said to her. Then, I had a moment and I thought, “This is how God must feel when He hears us repeating or praying His words."
That sounds so special! How do you think that moment with God through her letter will change you as a Site Coordinator?
Perseverance, I guess. Looking at the bigger picture. Looking ahead. SBSK is just a stepping stone in these kids lives. The little jewel of affirmation from Alexis took a whole year. So next year knowing that it takes a long time to cultivate trust inspires me to persevere. It will help me to stop focusing on quick fixes but aspire to build long lasting relationships.
Any final comments you want to share as you reflect on the year?
Having my own ideals and expectations going into a ministry like this is not a good thing. I learned I needed to become more fluid and free, adapting to any situation God gives me. Being available and open to change allows God to lead and helps me to “see” next steps.
Thank you for sharing your story, Raquel! It's been amazing to hear about God at work on the last day of program.
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