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An AYM Participant’s Perspective: What are you hungry for?

The following is a reflection by an Asheville Youth Mission participant, Cate O’Malley, who came to AYM this summer with her group from Sugar Creek Presbyterian Church in Kettering, Ohio.  She shared this with her congregation after returning from Asheville. 

So, I’d like to start out with the question “What are you hungry for?” And I don’t mean what do you want for lunch after church today, but what are you HUNGRY for? Like you’ve heard already, one of the work sites we went to was the Lord’s Acre where their motto is “Everybody is hungry for something and everybody has something to give”. Some of us are hungry for new adventures and experiences. Some of us are hungry for assurance and affirmation from others. Some of us are hungry to get out there and serve.

This question was posed during our group reflection time after our first work day, but I didn’t answer because I didn’t know, what AM I hungry for? I had lots of different answers and ideas I thought I could say, but none of them seemed like they were REALLY it. As the week continued, the question kind of went to the back of my mind and I didn’t think about it again too much.

As the week progressed, we learned more about the theme “Spaces”. We learned how people have a 1st space, 2nd space and 3rd space. A person’s first space is like their home and the environment where they live. A person’s second space is their school or their job. Lots of people we met and served during the week didn’t have a first or a second space because they were currently experiencing homelessness and were out of a job. That left them with only their 3rd space, the space where they could feel comfortable and at ease in a life otherwise filled with chaos. For us, our 3rd space might be a bookstore, a café, or a certain coffee shop. But in a lot of cases, these people that we met would be unwelcome at our 3rd spaces. They had their own 3rd spaces on Haywood Street and in 12 Baskets Café. These particular spaces built a community within them by giving out food and welcoming anyone and everyone who came. See how open and welcome people were to share their 3rd spaces with us when that openness was not always reciprocated to them made me kind of wonder, “How is it that I can be so judgmental and not very welcoming sometimes when these people experiencing homelessness, unemployment, and many other social injustices can be so welcoming, and open to share their special spaces with us?” Jesus tells us all the time in Scripture to love one another and welcome each other like in John 13:34 when he says, ‘Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ I think working at ll the different sites we did allowed me to try and put that Bible verse into action.

At the end of our week, I was thinking about all that we had done and all that I had learned when the question “What are you hungry for?” popped back into my head again. After thinking about it a little more, I finally knew what I was hungry for! I’m hungry to create more space! I want to create more space in my busy life where I can slow down and remember how good God is and how thankful I am for all that I’ve been blessed with, because I often forget that. I am hungry to create more space for god to use me and work through me by praying more and reading my Bible more. And finally, seeing how welcomed we were at these peoples’ 3rd spaces made me hungry to create more space in my heart to love everyone and treat everyone with humanity.

I don’t know how much passing out bags of fruit or making friendship bracelets or trying not to fall out of canoes while cleaning up a river has really impacted someone else’s life, but I know it impacted mine. I know more about myself, the passions that God has put on my heart, and the ways in which I can grow my faith. I’m so thankful that I was able to go on this mission immersion experience and I’m already excited for what next year’s will hold.

So, I said that I’m hungry to create more space in my life for God and in my heart, but now I will ask the question one more time…What are you hungry for? To stay on this analogy, once you find what you’re hungry for, whether it’s a desire to be more patient and kind or a hunger to serve more, don’t just stay hungry. Fill yourself up and satisfy your hunger so that you can then go out and help feed others who are hungry for the same thing.

Cate is a junior at Fairmont High School and lives in Kettering, Ohio.

Whoever Welcomes You, Welcomes Me

Here is video and spoken word poem written, performed, and produced by one of our Memphis Youth Mission interns.  May these words and images inspire all of us to be more welcoming and open to where God is calling us to be.

Courtney Henry is a summer intern at Memphis Youth Mission.  She attends Georgia College. 

Blankboards

Imagine a whiteboard. A big one, extending far beyond the limits of your sight. Just a big ole blank white board, waiting to be filled in. Zoom out, and see all the whiteboards, exactly the same humongous size as the first, filling up space in a grid of colored marker and explosions of thought on erasable canvas. Whiteboards as far as you can see, with words and symbols and blobs, some with moving pictures, others playing music, some connected by strings of yarn and others covered in sticky notes. And one, off in a corner,blank. A marker sits on the tray, uncapped. But nothing is drawn.

I won’t say I’m used to having all the answers (we all know how feisty faith can be), but in school I can usually sit with a difficult question and find words from a fleshy fold of brain matter somewhere in the cavern that is my skull and speak to the question, providing some form of answer. Sometimes that looks like a lot of external processing (read: talking to walls and other inanimate objects); at others, it’s headphones in and jamming out. Sometimes showers, sometimes bike rides, sometimes staring at pine cones, sometimes lightning-quick flashes of inspiration in class. I’ve even written all over paper on the walls. Even with the tough questions, my brain is running full-speed most of the time, drawing strange connections and ready as often as possible to spit back an answer half-formed of precise thought and half of blob-like shapes and colors. As you can imagine, whiteboards fill up fast that way.

I thrive on extended metaphor. My favorite way to write is to take a metaphor and meditate on it, pursuing the fleeting images wherever they might lead me, capturing their essence in a free-flowing dialogue of pen and paper. The idea leads me; I do not control it. I think this is why I see connections well, why I see whole systems and individual moving parts, why a peculiar song lyric reminds me of a movie which in turn draws me to a book or a story of my grandfather’s. I’m willing to let things go where they will, to spread and adapt and change to the day, the space, the mood. Rarely is there something that leaves me entirely speechless, without existing connections to draw on or thoughts to explore. I know I’m young, and there is certainly a lot out there that is unfamiliar to me firsthand. But we understand the unknown via the known–we incorporate new knowledge in the context of older experience. In other words, we as human beings *connect*. Everything is a network of emotional memory and half-remembered facts and midnight-snack-induced dreams. So when something doesn’t immediately become a new branch of my worldview, I am reminded of how much I don’t know and how difficult some experiences can be to incorporate. And that can be breath-taking.

Imagine then, my spiritual journey in Raleigh this summer. I am confronted daily (thanks to my boss, Katherine, our agencies, and our community members) with issues that leave me at a loss for words, poetic or otherwise. Often, I am simply pensive, leaving the office concerned that I am “broken.” I reflect and wonder and wait and throw spaghetti-thoughts at the wall, and it seems like nothing sticks. For someone generally ready to reply, someone like me, it can be frustrating. At first, it’s just a reminder that I ought to pause before responding and organize my thoughts. Then, it begins to feel like I’m searching a haystack for a needle. And after a while, the void really starts to feel empty, as words like “toxic masculinity” and “welcoming spaces” bounce around without company in the walls of my skull. My whiteboards of ideas and thoughts and connections have remained mysteriously, frustratingly, quietly blank. And not for lack of trying–we are pushed constantly to reflect on difficult experiences, to ask the hard, deep questions, to find words in the deep dark void that we call ourselves. And sometimes all we can do is sit and say, “I don’t know.”

Before this summer started, I would have said that it’s alright to admit to not knowing, that I’ve done it before and that I was comfortable not having all the answers. And on some level, that was true: I don’t mind not knowing what dinner would be, what class would look like in a few months, or what life would bring in just a few short, sweet years. But I never realized I wouldn’t be comfortable drawing a blank when faced with tougher questions of who we are and who we are called to be, of where I might be welcome and where I might not be, of just what social justice issues might look like. I sit and sit and sit and wait, staring at the inner-most recesses of my brain, repeating the words over and over to myself, hoping desperately for a bolt of connection, for anything I can draw on as background, for even a solar wind to stir the cosmic tides and shift my perspective. And that lonely little whiteboard, it just sits with me. Waiting on me to pick up the marker and write *something*. It sits, blank. And so I sit, uncomfortable, pensive, deep in the trenches of my brain, but unable to fight off the pressing silence of thought.

And pre-summer me is almost right: it *is* alright to not know. It’s needed and necessary and important and *healthy*. When was the last time I really found myself speechless before I started at RYM? When did I last find myself wrestling with some big question and unable to formulate the beginning of a response? When last did I sit, wordless in the face of the universe, struggling against silence and open to the possibility that it is beyond me? But I am not *comfortable* with it–it is intentionally uncomfortable space, space in which we push ourselves to the limits and find that, with all barriers removed, we don’t know which direction to go in. That confusion, that lack of direction, *that* is our struggle with the unknown, with the deeper questions of faith in a modern setting. What are we going to do?

I reflect on our theme for the summer of 2017, and I am reminded that even as we are looking at creating space in our communities, we should also look inwards. We should explore how we create internal space to wrestle and struggle and be *wrong*, how we can as a community open up that space to asking tough questions. We should make sure that, amidst a sea of busy thought and faithful action, in a storm of colors and blobs and sticky notes, we leave open in a corner a whiteboard, blank. Empty. Silent.

 

David (Ben) Knoble is a summer intern at Raleigh Youth Mission.  He attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Having It Figured Out

There is a certain amount of times a person can be asked “What exactly are we doing today?” before they become comfortable with not always having a concrete answer. In a position of leadership (at least for me), the ideal circumstance is knowing exactly how the day is going to go. I’ve grown up wanting to know the day-by-day itinerary for every mission trip, every family vacation, and every other adventure I’ve ever been on. It’s comforting to feel like I’m in control of every detail of what I’m doing. However, over the past month of work with AYM, I have had to let go of some of those tendencies.

In general, our schedule is largely the same every week. Arrival on Sunday, worksites Monday through Wednesday, neighborhood walk on Thursday, and worship/goodbyes on Friday. It’s a very systematic routine to get into, and it feels good to go through some of the same motions enough to create muscle memory. However, as my high school choir director always said, “Details make the difference.” It is in the details of each day that make them exciting, but also a little stressful. I had to learn to appreciate the opportunity for flexibility and learning when reality doesn’t end up matching with how I imagined the day.  My coworkers and I have enough experience to know what is typical at each worksite we bring our young people to, but non-profit work doesn’t have squared-off edges and doesn’t fit into a box. We don’t know who we’ll meet, what conversations we’ll have, or what particular tasks will need doing. Maybe we’ll blow through a day’s work in an hour and other meaningful activities need to be figured out. Maybe we’ll skip going to our scheduled lunch site because we’re having such a great time in a garden. Maybe we’ll meet a neighbor who causes us to think differently about an issue.  There is always a plan, but there is also a lot of wiggle room that I had to quickly get comfortable with.

I feel like this is reflective of experiences with faith. I grew up in the church; I went to Sunday school, I was confirmed in 8th grade, and I was an elder on my church’s Session my senior year. On paper, it looks like a fairly systematic routine, but there was more than a little bit of wiggle room. Throughout my whole life, I have struggled with not having everything about faith “figured out”. It has been a roller coaster of ups and downs, twists and turns, and everything in between. I’ve always had this image of an “ideal Christian” in my head that I’ve never been able to live up to. Before this summer started, I was scared that maybe I wasn’t the right person for this job, that someone else should lead young people on their mission of service and spirituality, because I didn’t feel like enough.

Faith, though, doesn’t have squared-off edges either. It doesn’t fit into a box. It’s a journey that isn’t meant to be completely understood, no matter how much my type A personality wants it to be. When my young people ask me “What exactly are we doing today?”, I ask them to be comfortable with my occasional “We’ll see when we get there!” In turn, I’m learning to be comfortable with my relationship with God being malleable as I get older, changing as any relationship would.  I’m learning to be more trusting in my faith, that I don’t have to have everything “figured out” to be worthy.

What will we be cleaning the next time we go to A Hope Day Shelter? What meal will we be helping to prepare at Haywood Street Congregation? What vegetables will need harvesting at The Lord’s Acre? Where will our personal faith journeys take us and what will they feel like tomorrow, next week, or in three years? Well…we’ll see when we get there.

Naomi is a student at James Madison University.  She is a summer intern at Asheville Youth Mission

Meaning Over Manuals

Over the course of this year, and especially since joining the staff of YMCo., I have heard a lot about being “intentional” with my actions. That could mean praying intentionally, having intentional conversation, or sometimes it means being intentional about the way that I explain an activity. Yet, somehow the term has always felt a bit unnecessary to me. Don’t we always have a reason for doing what we do—otherwise, why do it? It wasn’t until my first week as an AYM intern that I learned the real importance of intentionality.

The first week is always one of the hardest because everything is new. The schedule is new, the theme is new, and my experience as an intern is certainly different from anything I’ve ever done before. Whether I realized it or not, the most prominent thought on my mind in that first week was that I would not mess up. I spent hours practicing my routes so that I wouldn’t get my group lost on the way to a worksite, I looked over every program at least a few times, and I practically memorized a whole page of policies for one of my more involved worksites. At every worksite I made several rounds to check on each youth so that I could be sure everyone was on task. I checked in with the youth leader of the group multiple times a day to make sure that we were on the same page, and at program, I was determined to get as many of our high schoolers to participate as I possibly could.

By the middle of the week, everything seemed to be going as planned up until I sat in a small group at our Wednesday night program. For several minutes I had been trying to get each of the youth to dig deep and really think about a moment where they saw God during their week. By this time, they were rather tired from a full day of work, and they seemed to feel that there was nothing more they could add to the answers they had already given. Eventually, one of the girls looked up at the rest of the small group and realized that no one had the energy to dig any further into my question.  With fatigue and maybe a bit of exasperation, she looked over at me.

“Well where did you see God this week, Emily?” she asked.

I stared blankly. With that simple question, the question that I had been trying to get everyone else in our group to reflect on and share, she had me completely dumbfounded. Well, where did I see God this week? We’d been talking with our youth about it at every program and at many of the worksites. Yet, on our last day of working, I realized I hadn’t once stopped to think about that question for myself. I’d been so caught up with memorizing the policies, getting to the worksites, and trying to make sure that everyone was on task that I hadn’t taken any time to think about the most important part of all: why did our work matter?

Suddenly remembering that she was still waiting for an answer, I intelligently remarked, “huh” and did a mental run through of everything we’d experienced that week. After several seconds, I began to talk about the janitorial work we’d done at one of our worksites earlier that day, and how I’d come to see that it helped my group and me achieve a better appreciation for work that we often take for granted. However, what’s more important than my answer is that it took one of my high schoolers flipping my own question back onto me before I saw the significance of our week.

This work isn’t about getting our youth to every worksite that we can so that they hopefully have a good mission experience. It’s about discovering with them a newfound appreciation for hard work and the people who may have lower level, yet very important jobs. It’s about the process of meeting people who have fewer financial resources than us, and understanding that we are both equally valuable, beautiful, and gifted children of God. This work has to be intentional. We do not work solely to get the job done—we take the time to see the beauty in every human, in every relationship, and in every job taken on. God has woven new meaning into all of life’s experiences. People, as his beloved children, just have to be intentional about finding it.

Emily Pittman is a Summer Intern at Asheville Youth Mission.  She attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is from Cary, North Carolina. 

Summer 2017 will be a Season of “Creating Space”

This summer, and for the following school year, we will be exploring the theme, “Creating Space.”  It’s a theme that we think will be very relevant to youth, to their experience here at Youth Mission Co, and the world.

The “spaces” we will be creating will be varied–  sometimes physical, sometimes literal.  We will look at the spaces that are provided by our numerous agency and ministry partners.  For whom (and with whom) are these spaces intended?  What are the values and norms of these spaces?  Why are these spaces even necessary?  We will look at spaces in our program location communities of Asheville, NC, Raleigh, NC, and Memphis, TN, including some that are contentious spaces.  Is everyone allowed in these spaces or are they only for a particular kind of people?

We will ask young people to consider what “space” they have set aside in their lives for discernment.  Where do you go when you need community, or guidance, or comfort?  Where are the spaces in which you know that you belong?  What are the spaces that God is calling you to enter, or even to create?

Then we will talk with young people about their home communities.  What spaces are available for those who are in need of basic necessities?  What spaces do our churches offer, and for whom (and with whom) are they created?  What is God calling you to do in your home community, through your home church, to create space for all God’s children?

We are so excited about this theme!  We can’t wait to dive into it with a great team of summer interns, and hundreds of youth from around the country!!

Youth Voices from Charlotte: Part 1

charlotte-riotMany of us have been praying for and thinking about our sisters and brothers in Charlotte, NC over the last several days.  We at Youth Mission Co asked some of our young people from Charlotte to give us their perspective on the situation there– their thoughts, feelings, hopes, concerns, and prayers.

Here is a statement from several youth at Trinity Presbyterian Church of Charlotte.

It has been a sad and frightening week in Charlotte. The events in the national news were happening just a few miles from our homes, and that was pretty scary. Responses to this tragic event have even been taking place in our schools. The violence that we witnessed was very upsetting. We are worried that others will think our hometown of Charlotte is a violent and bad place, but that does not reflect the city we have grown up in. Charlotte is a good place with nice people. Moving forward, we hope that people will choose to protest peacefully and that the rioting is over. Rioting and violence does not help solve the problems that exist. As Christians, we are committed to having open minds to other people and their opinions. The Bible tells us to love unconditionally, and we strive to respect everyone and be peacemakers as Charlotte and the nation heal.
 
By: Jimmy Click, Molly Click, Marshall Coley, William Coley, Dean Gutnecht, Graham Gutnecht, David Hood, John Hood, and Hank Smith
If you are a youth from the Charlotte area and you would like to share your perspective with us, let us know!  This can be in the form of a statement like this one, or a poem, a song, some visual art, or something else you are inspired to create.  We continue to pray for the city of Charlotte, its leaders, and its people.  May God keep guiding us as we work for justice and peace in our community, nation, and world.

“We Cannot be Christians Alone” by Caitlyn Hathaway

As a student at Presbyterian College, a professor taught me the phrase, “You cannot be a Christian alone.” Whether this was an original quote or simply borrowed words, the phrase stuck with me after graduation, and as I began my year serving as a Young Adult Volunteer in Asheville. I first began to fully grasp its meaning during my first few months here. I was given the task of working in a new worshipping community where I didn’t quite understand some of the viewpoints of the members there, and I began to struggle with what God was calling me to do. It was during a phone conversation with a friend from college that I was reminded that, “We cannot be Christians alone.” She said to me, “What good is faith if it is only lived out among those who look, think, believe, and act like us?” Little did I know, she was setting me up for a life-changing 7 months working for Asheville Youth Mission.

These last several months, serving at our many partner agencies across the Asheville area, these words have become more real for me. While I knew that as Christians we are called to create peace on earth, what I learned is that this task is too monumental for any one person, one group of people, or one organization to accomplish alone. Before working at AYM, I closed myself off to those who didn’t think or believe like I do, calling their theology “bad,” and the work they were doing “wrong.” I was closed off to seeing the goodness in their work and the change they were making in people’s lives every day. At AYM, though, we partner with agencies grounded in theologies that span the spectrum from conservative to liberal and everywhere in between. As I have worked with each of these agencies, I have learned to step outside of my fear of those who believe differently from me, and rather partner with them in love for our neighbors. When we work together, our world is more united, and we see glimpses of the Kingdom of God. When we don’t, we simply create more division in our world, and cracks for the people we serve to fall into. We cannot be Christians alone, and we cannot do Christ’s work alone.

This year I have also learned that this phrase doesn’t just mean working alongside those who are different from us, but also building community with them. As a Young Adult Volunteer, one of our requirements is to live in intentional community with one another. Here, I learned that the community Christ calls us into is not one where we can turn a blind eye to the ugliness of life. We are called to be vulnerable with one another, and to accept one another’s vulnerabilities. I learned to do that with the five Asheville YAVs I served alongside of this year, but it wasn’t until I began my work at AYM that I truly understood that this is not limited to the handful of people we surround ourselves with everyday, but must be extended to even the strangers we pass on the street. Our society often tells us to shy away from things in life that make us uncomfortable, but when we live in community, we are forced to confront the good, the bad, and the ugly. We cannot turn a blind eye to addiction, homelessness, poverty, inequality, or any of the things that make us uncomfortable. When we do, we shut out the voices of those struggling with those things. My most vivid memory of this was just a few days ago as we were setting up a free food market at Kairos West. A lady arrived at 1:30, ready for the market to begin, and was frustrated that we were not running on time. She lashed out at us and the volunteers at Kairos. Our culture would tell us to strike back, tell her to wait her turn, but the community Christ calls us into means confronting the food insecurity she faces that caused her to be upset (I mean, we’ve all been “hangry” at times). “We cannot be Christians alone,” and that means loving the whole person, not just the things that make us feel good or comfortable.

As I transition out of this YAV year and my time at AYM, this is what I will take with me. As long as I am a Christian, I cannot live in a bubble– isolating myself from those I disagree with or the things that make me uncomfortable. I must step out of this fear, and into love for God, the world, and God’s people.

 

 

 

“Superpowers” by Troy Schmidt

The nice part about a job with a fairly consistent schedule is that on any given day I can provide a pretty good guess about what I’ll be doing. Every Sunday a few things happen: I forget to eat dinner because of poor time management, groups arrive, I struggle in the name game we play, and the night concludes with orientation. During orientation every week we ask the kids to put on flexibility pants and humility vests, two (imaginary) articles of clothing that provide them with superpowers. Flexibility pants give you the power to be flexible at work sites, which means being prepared if plans change. Humility vests give you the power of being humble enough to do any job that’s asked of you.

These often go hand in hand at our various worksites. For example, at Manna FoodBank a group may be sorting bulk products like potatoes or pasta when Josh comes and asks for two volunteers to come throw out old moldy squash. Thanks to both of these superpowers any member of the group can do this with only an acceptable amount of complaining. Our flexibility pants and humility vests also don’t come off, which means, by my count, I have on at least nine of each of these articles of clothing on right now. All of these pants and vests come in handy, because as an intern our weeks/days/hours often call for us to be flexible and humble. Sometimes you get to a worksite and it takes longer than expected to check in on the computer, sometimes you get to a worksite and finish everything the agency asked you to do all day in the first hour, and sometimes you make a wrong turn even though you’ve already practiced driving that route and know where to go.

No job site requires more flexibility or humility than a Wednesday afternoon at Haywood Street Congregation. Haywood Street is a congregation of mostly homeless members who come together for a worship service every Wednesday and Sunday. There’s also a free meal served before the worship (you don’t have to stay for worship to eat the meal) so on an average summer Wednesday they see between 300-500 people. In the middle of all this craziness our groups set up tents, giant Jenga, and corn hole. We then walk up and down the street, handing out popsicles as a way to break the ice and start a conversation with our neighbors. This five cent Popsicle can lead to an invitation to play games or simply provide our neighbors with a way to cool off. Handing out popsicles often requires a lot of humility. These are people who we are taught growing up to avoid. These are people who we avoid eye contact with when we’re driving or walking downtown. These are people we are taught that are very different from us. We use the Popsicle to humble ourselves and share the love that God calls us to share. When we do this right, and truly humble ourselves, some amazing things can happen. Some groups bring guitars and our neighbors teach them how to play new songs. Some groups make friends with the children of Haywood Street, children they wouldn’t otherwise talk to. Some groups even get to study the bible with our neighbors, and hear new perspectives.

Once we finish handing out popsicles and eating our lunch we join the worship service of Haywood Street. Worship at Haywood Street is unlike any worship most of the kids have experienced before. There is much more crowd involvement, people are allowed to speak their minds after the scripture is read. Anyone from the body is invited to serve communion. I’ve had communion offered to me by members of the youth group and a young adult wearing a shirt with a picture of Michael Jordan dunking. And, if you’re really lucky, sometimes the closing hymn will be “Celebrate” by Kool & the Gang and the entire congregation will form a conga line around the sanctuary.

As 3:00 rolls around and we end our day at Haywood Street, groups are typically exhausted. Wednesday afternoon marks the end of that week’s worksites and being in the sun all day in this summer heat can drain even the most energized of kids. Which is why there’s one Wednesday afternoon that stands out to me. We were all standing around waiting for the adult leader to bring the van around so we could load it with our supplies. The kids were playing corn hole and I was talking to a different adult off to the side. A man walked out of the kitchen pushing a silverware cart. On a typical Wednesday they serve between 200-500 people so you can imagine how much silverware there was. I heard a crash and immediately knew what had happened. I turned around to tell the kids to help him pick the silverware up but I no longer saw them by the corn hole boards. I continued my scan towards the cart and found that all of the kids were already on their hands and knees picking up silverware. Even after they were told they were done for the day, they did not hesitate to serve, and to serve humbly. Because the worksite might end, but flexibility pants and humility vests never come off.

“Our Valley” by Lauren Nalley

Hey guys! My name is Lauren Nalley and I’m a intern at Asheville Youth Mission this summer. I’m currently a sophomore in college in Colorado, but I am really excited about being able to work in Asheville this summer because this is where I was raised. I’ve lived in Asheville for 18 years and am super excited about giving back to the community which has given me so much in the past. My blog post this year is a video of spoken word slam poetry. I wrote this poem about my time in Asheville through out my life and what I have learned while being a part of AYM. It refers to many social justice issues which I have noticed in particular throughout these past weeks including homelessness, racism, police brutality , and many others. I hope you enjoy!