Saturday, March 3, 2012

Assemblies

We had the pleasure of having an assembly yesterday (Friday) morning.  One of the local churches was hosting (and paying for) a guest speaker named Chris Allen.  They contacted the school and offered Chris' services to us for free!

Chris was introduced, and at the beginning, I had no idea how the students were going to react.  They had this white man who's currently attending seminary standing and telling them that they could make better decisions and actually make something of their life because his life had been tough too.  When he told the students that he was raised as a Pastor's kid, I could see their attention start to wither.  It was like the little thought bubbles were hovering over their heads and they were all thinking,
"Yeah right, your life was tough.  You had two parents and a home and all these other people that looked up to and respected your family.  You had a stable income, and you were treated with love."

What they then came to learn is that Chris Allen was sexually abused by a man of authority in the church.  Since his father had hired this man and he was a family friend, Chris didn't feel that he could tell anyone what he was going through.  He started drinking at age 13 and continued to become an alcoholic long before he reached college.  He was the typical kid of past generations who got drunk and lost his virginity on prom night.  Chris' life was on a downward spiral.  He captured some of their attention by saying that he'd been the main event on an episode of Cops.  Long story short, he ended up with a $300/ day cocaine addiction, living on a park bench, then fled the country to avoid the cops, floated aimlessly in the ocean for a few days, and landed on the US Virgin Islands.  He's been a bit of a traveler as a result of his bad decisions.  Anyway, the effect that the assembly and Chris Allen's message had on my middle schoolers has yet to be seen, though even the kids that were trying to sleep at the beginning were awake and listening actively at the end.  If he even reaches and inspires one of them, I'd call it a success. :)  Character development/ education, baby!

Here's a little info about Chris Allen if you're interested.  He's a phenomenal speaker, probably not just for school settings, and I'm sure would be willing to travel some around the SouthEastern US, especially.

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