Can 20 Minutes Make That Much Difference?

I’m not one to usually volunteer.  My life is so busy with work, family, and then the photography business, that I barely have time to do anything.  But a friend of mine posted on FaceBook that they needed men to help with the camp.  I’m not sure what came over me, but I said I would help.   So I am volunteering in the evenings this week at a kids camp for abused and neglected foster children.

I had to go through a few training sessions to prepare me for what I was getting myself into.  These kids, age 7-11,  have been neglected and abused…physically, mentally, and sexually.  I will be honest…I was a bit nervous to go there tonight.

My kids are fairly well behaved.  I do not have experience with kids who do not listen, who act out just because they want to, and who are on medication to keep them stable.

I arrived in the evening just after dinner and then we all headed outside to play some basketball…

I noticed this one little boy who was trying to play with the other kids and they wouldn’t let him.  He has something wrong with his back/shoulder.  A bulge of some kind.  Not sure what it is, I didn’t ask.  Eventually he worked his way over to another hoop and was playing by himself.  So I went over and played with him.  He was an awesome little guy and we had a blast.  For having something wrong with his shooting arm he was nailing baskets left and right.  He made way more than I did. 🙂

I few minutes later another little boy came along.  His name was James.  He asked if he could play, and I said yes.  The other groups wouldn’t let him play either.  He was so excited that he was being accepted into our little game of Make It-Take It!

At the end of the night after all of the kids had their showers James came running up to me, jumped up,  put his arms around my legs, and gave me a big hug.  He looked up at me, still squeezing my legs and said, “Thank you so very much for playing basketball with me!  Can we do it again tomorrow?”

And then I realized that that simple game of Make It-Take It was more than just a simple game of basketball for James. It was the feeling of acceptance.  The feeling of self worth…because someone cared enough to catch his air-balls, praise him for the ones he made, run after the missed shots, and actually give him the ball back.  I’d almost bet that has never happened before…

Makes me happy to think that a regular ole’ guy like me, spending 20 minutes with James on a basketball court, made his day!  But sad to think that is all it took…

One Comment

  1. tommy riles says:

    Good for you, man. It’s crazy how so little of our time can positively effect somebody else. Keep it up!