Saturday night I went to bed at about 10:30. I awoke at 1:30 AM to lots of voices shouting and screaming using the most explicit words imaginable. Charlie (my dog) and I sleep in a bedroom in the back of the apartment. We hear lots of yelling, sirens, cars screeching and trains going by. Both Charlie and I have grown accustomed to it so that even with this extreme shouting that sounded almost like a riot, neither of us got up. Charlie didn't even bark. But when I heard about five gun shots, I decided to go to the living room window at the front of the apartment and see if I needed to do anything. There were about fifty young people embroiled in a huge fight in front of my apartment. Several of the young men were wielding baseball bats and two by fours and they were beating each other up. Evidently someone had shot a gun into the air and some of them were beginning to scatter.
I wandered what it must be like to be the mother or grandmother of one of those kids, knowing they are out there and not knowing how to stop them from being there. Anything could happen.
A 21-year old boy from the neighborhood recently was released from prison and has been hanging out at our offices. Today Bill and I were trying to find out what dreams he has for his life. He couldn't think of anything. I finally asked him when in the last week he had felt the most positive about himself and hopeful for the future. He said it is when he is with us at the Breakthrough Joshua Center. You can almost sense the fear in him that if he goes back out there it is only a matter of time, statistics indicate less than 90 days, and he will be back in prison. I told him that he should keep coming by and helping out around the center. It's a safe place for him, a place where he is beginning to feel hopeful.
Please pray for him and for the young people who were out there Saturday night. I really believe many, if not most, of them would not be hanging out on the street if there were alternatives for them. They just need safe places where they can begin to dream for their future and experience positive life change.