October in Kansas City
The Sai Youth from Kansas City were inspired to embark on a journey to understand and start contributing to their local communities of displaced youth. What started out began as a few simple acts of service turned into an offering of personal transformation to our Lord. The youth had started out by providing meals weekly at a youth shelter in Kansas City every week. The meals they were providing allowed them the chance to interact with many youth, and it didn't take long for the group to see where they could get plugged in and be of most help.
For many “clients,” as the homeless teens were referred to by the shelters, bouncing around from temporary shelter to temporary shelter became the norm. The case managers –- the workers at the shelters who were responsible for providing the right resources and helping to get the youth off the streets –- were in a constant struggle to balance managing new client applications and providing adequate support for existing clients. Added to that, the varied varying requirements for each client –- everything from coordinating daily transportation to go to school and recovering documents to apply for state IDs, to managing health issues and job applications - – and it was made clear that the shelters were severely understaffed and underfunded. Consequently, the kids still felt their lives were out of their control, the system wasn't there to support them in any meaningful way, and, most importantly, that they weren't and could never be loved.
After a few weeks serving meals services, in during which the Sai Youth started endearing themselves to a few of the teens, some of the them began to open up about their lives and their goals to get jobs and apartments of their own where they could be free to live their own lives. The group had known, from their discussion with the California young adults who had kick-started this the Street to Stability programme, that there were certain key criteria in assessing which youth would be ideal candidates for the Street to Stability process. The kids needed to be at least 16 years of age, have no severe mental health issues, and express a clear desire to be a productive member of society.
One of the teens, who recently had graduated from high school and moved out of her family's home, was at a crossroads. She had earned a full tuition scholarship to attend a community college and had a clear goal to start her own business one day. But she was not able to get acceptance to any shelter for a long-term stay and didn't have the money or a job to buy the necessary supplies to succeed in college. The group prayed to Bhagawan for guidance and they received their answer:
1) find an apartment close to her college where she could walk to her classes and ideally also to a nearby job.
2) find a sponsoring organisation which that could support her rent and other expenses for a few months.
3) help her with class school, move-in and other expenses while helping her find a job.
It was as if Bhagawan had planned this all along, as within just a couple weeks, the youths were able to get the young lady all settled in at her a new apartment, with a job secured and 6 six months of rental support promised by an accommodating non-profit.
Through this experience of demonstrating full commitment to someone and full surrender to Bhagawan’s plans, the young adults got a taste of the meaning of the phrase,
“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person, you may be the world.”