The fall of freshman year at the University of Redlands was the first semester I started volunteering at Micah House. On my first day I remember walking those few blocks to Oxford Street. With humidity I was not used to, the blocks seemed more like miles. I timidly knocked on the front door not knowing at all what to expect.
The kids did not give me much time to ponder my expectations, as before I could even put on a nametag I was being peppered with questions; sometimes about their homework, sometimes about me. By the end of that whirlwind of a day they may have learned more about me than they learned about division. Luckily my tutoring skills have increased throughout the years, but at the time I didn’t think about that. All I knew was that I would be coming back the next day.
One of the gifts I received from Micah House over the last four years is the room I was given to grow as a tutor and a leader. I was given leadership roles in reading clubs, devotional times, and tutoring students one-on-one with literacy. I am still amazed at the amount of trust that was given to me in handling these responsibilities – and how much grace when my performance was less than perfect. Thanks to that trust and grace, I now have more confidence and belief in my abilities to work with children and do so in ways that will truly help them.
Almost four years later I can easily and honestly say that walking to Micah House on that humid day was the best decision I made in college. What began as a fleeting thought, “I should really find somewhere to serve,” became a home, and as any college student will tell you, we need places to call home. Everyone needs a place where they are known and loved and where they know and love those around them. Micah House provided such a place for me; there’s a reason that of all the goodbyes at the end of college, my final goodbye to Micah House was the most difficult.
~ Kelly Odor, University of Redlands Work Study