By Jeff Delp Every year after the wrapping paper has been tossed and all the store decorations taken down, we reflect. Our hearts are full from the joys of watching excited parents choose gifts for their loved ones, and the stories we hear of delighted children on Christmas morning. We’re so grateful for our donors, staff, and community that makes those experiences possible.
But this year, I am eager to tell you one young man’s story. It’s a Pride for Parents relationship that has outlasted every toy and bicycle and still has a bright future ahead.
I have known Devron since he was six years old. He grew up in our neighborhood and for many years, unwrapped Christmas gifts purchased in our store. His mom invested deeply in his life and encouraged him on the straight and narrow. As a teenager, he spent his junior and senior years of high school working in our store and earning a paycheck. Last fall, we joyfully watched him head to Fisk University in Tennessee.
Devron called me in November to inquire about picking up some holiday hours at the store during this year’s Pride for Parents. We would have loved to have him back, but through some of our ministry partnerships, I actually had a little something different in mind for Devron.
High Tech Ministries connected me to IStaff, who asked me if we had someone interested in a paid internship over Christmas. I introduced Devron. It may have been one of the best gifts we gave this year. IStaff offered Devron the opportunity to see how a small business works, participate in client visits, and learn new software to source new hire candidates.
Years of relationships both with neighborhood kids and partner resources opened the door for this young man to return home for break with a paid, professional internship. This Christmas in South Atlanta, it’s possible that Devron’s mom was the proudest of them all.
This Christmas, you helped over 1,000 families provide gifts and toys for their families. Thank you. Our toy drive has always extended beyond the holidays as our store seeks to provide valuable employment to neighborhood residents. We are beyond grateful for the investment in our staff that has come from you, as well as partnerships with groups like High Tech Ministries.
Long term relationships create change. Nothing has been more beautiful this year than watching Devron head off to this internship. In fact, he did such a terrific job another company hired him for a few days before he eventually returned to school.
Thank you so much for your support that has impacted Devron, our staff, and so many children who we hope may one day also fill out job applications at our store. We hope you will consider joining us in ongoing support as we continue to provide jobs throughout the year. To donate, please click here and select “FCS Community Economic Development” from the dropdown menu.
Image credit: JD Hancock