I attended a fundraiser last night for a new friend son’s headstone. Knoye lost her son to gang violence. He was shot while walking around a McDonalds. I don’t know the details but have seen the impact that grief and suffering can have on a family. What I want to share is the story behind how I met Dwight’s mom.
I can remember pulling into my Staples to get some office supplies and stamps for a mailing. I pulled into the parking lot and as I was walking out I got a text that I responded to while walking. I saw this tall African American guy walking close to me who made an interesting comment about me not texting while driving. This began a conversation that ended up having me share about the work I do in South Phoenix with at risk youth. We laughed and joked a little. We both went back into Staples and I did my shopping and he his.
As I am finishing checking out his wife comes up and we end up talking more. I had just recently heard about an older teen that had been murdered at a McDonald’s on 51st Ave and one of my teens had gone to the funeral and was actually a cousin. So as I’m listening to Tony and then Knoye I put the pieces to the puzzle together and realize that this is Dwight’s mom and obviously Keyshon’s aunt. I listen to her story of heartache and rebirth as a new Christian.
I listen some more and then share more specifically about New City and our passion for at risk youth which her teens and her husband’s teens fit our profile. I hand them some flyers and a newsletter and say good-bye. I meet lots of people all of the time and never know what to expect when it comes to what will happen next. I get into my truck and go back home to finish my mailing.
I get their cell and begin to include them with my New City text updates. So eventually she comes to a BBQ at my house and then becomes a fixture at our tutoring program with all of her teens. We quickly become good friends and share a passion to see at risk youth get it and not become a statistic like her son. She actually attends one of my partner churches and one my community activist friends is also a good friend of hers.
So as I hear about this quatermania fundraiser I know that I have to attend to my best to help out a little bit. So I ask what she needs and she tells me so after a meeting I quickly run into a Wells Fargo inside a Fry’s and get some extra quarters that will become my donation to her. She also mentions she needs some extra lights because the building where they are meeting isn’t lit very well. I pick up a vanload of teens and we are off with thanks to my Apple Maps to this banquet hall.
As we pull into the little parking lot this building is hidden among other older buildings that have a variety of little businesses. We walk into a room full of tables with around 60 people waving painting stirrers. I hear buckets with quarters being shook and the noise of money clinking fills the room. I totally misunderstood what she had meant by a quartermania event. I thought it would be a bunch of games you play for a quarter and then get prizes. It turns out to be a promo event for a group of ladies mostly that sell or market a specific type of product that ranged from Avon to Pampered Chief. The room seemed more a casino with a group of crazed veterans that were looking for a good deal.
The great news is that both the vendors profited from this event and Knoye also raised over $500 to go towards her son’s headstone. I’m always amazed at how I make new friends and how they become part of the ongoing journey of doing community development work!