Jennifer John


Being one of two mothers on this trip, I would like to share a unique perspective. There have been many life changing experiences, images in my mind and heart wrenching sights that will last a lifetime. These teens have probably shared the majority of them. The one thing I have gained a deeper appreciation for is how blessed our children are and how thankful I am for the endless opportunities which are inherently theirs. I take for granted that my children’s basic needs are met on a daily basis with little or no sacrifice. They are privileged to have a free and generous education from talented and educated teachers and staff. That is what makes me the most sad for the children that I see here…they may be secretly talented in one way or another or mini Einstein geniuses but because of their circumstances and the place which they live, those hidden abilities will, most likely, never become a reality because there are no real opportunities for them to thrive.


Our children’s futures are bright and anything they dream can become reality because of the opportunities that are waiting. I’m so impressed by the dedication these young adults have shown the last year to make this experience a reality. I know it has changed their lives. I hope that they will never forget the sights, sounds and smells that are here and, along with their future full of promise, make helping and serving others a life-long pursuit.


A poem my Dad shared at Thanksgiving keeps coming to my mind…you may have heard it before but, after being here, it takes a new and more personal meaning for me.


I’m thankful for the taxes that I pay

Because it means that I’m employed.


I’m thankful for the mess to clean after a party

Because it means that I have been surrounded by friends.


I’m thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug

Because it means I have enough to eat.


I’m thankful for a lawn that needs mowing and windows that need cleaning

Because it means that I have a home.


I’m thankful for all the complaining I hear about the government

Because it means that we have freedom of speech.


I’m thankful for the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot

Because it means I’m capable of walking and blessed with transportation.


I’m thankful for my utility bill

Because it means I’m cool in the summer, warm in the winter and have light when the sun goes down.


I’m thankful for the lady behind me in church that sings off key

Because it means that I can hear.


I’m thankful for the pile of laundry

Because it means I’m surrounded by family.


I’m thankful for weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day

Because it means that I’ve been productive.


I’m thankful for the alarm that goes off in the morning

Because it means I get to live another day!


Author Unknown


Thanks YMAD for providing this experience that has helped me gain a deeper appreciation for all the opportunities and privileges that I have been so generously blessed with…


Jennifer John