As we prepare for this year's Sunset by the Bay, we also look forward to Sunset Youth Services' 20th anniversary. With the advent of this milestone, I can't help but reflect on the startling contradictions that accompany working with in-risk youth.
We encounter odds that seem insurmountable. The young people we serve have needs that are often bigger than our staff or organization can fully meet. I have found myself asking, "Is this worth the cost? Can God expect so much sacrifice?" Over the last two decades I have considered taking an easier task, but I know this is where I belong.
I actually see miracles. Kids find healing, make constructive choices. They discover new ways to cope with pain and then learn how to help others. They obtain skills that help them find jobs, be better parents, live healthier lives.
What makes this all possible? Yes, it's true that we bring decades of experience, training backed by degrees and certifications and a philosophy that gives our work a proven psychological underpinning. Still, I wish I could tell you that we have concocted some new concept that will meet all our kids' needs, sweep urban America, right the world's wrongs. I cannot. What I can tell you is that whatever makes a difference here, love is at the root of it.
This is no trite concept. Love is demanding and painful. The more freely you love, the more vulnerable you become. When you love someone who has been hurt, you risk being hurt in return. Still, this love lets us persevere. When our capacity to show it ebbs, we are reminded that God's love-giving capability is infinite.
We are also reminded of the importance of your support, for which I am deeply, humbly grateful. I can't wait to see you on April 20 for an awesome and surprising event!
Co-Founder, Executive Director