And the Message is Fun

The last two days, I’ve taken our students to the River Arts District here in Asheville to visit with local artists in their studios and even do some painting on canvases and walls alike. It’s rare that I get to go out with the students, as I usually aid them with math or writing in the classroom throughout the school week. To become “Weekend Tom” every now and then is good for my soul. I think it’s good for the […]

Four Seasons Later

I wore a sweater to work the other day. I climbed half-naked out of bed with a shiver and noted the morning temperature a brisk 49 degrees. So, I grabbed a light sweater from my closet — the first time I’ve worn one since March or April. Since I first moved to Asheville. Winter. Spring. Summer. Autumn. I’ve now called the Blue Ridge home for all four seasons. I remember sitting in training for my job as snowflakes fell outside the […]

We Are Not Forgotten or Wasted

A man recently approached me at a gas station. This doesn’t happen often; in fact, I only remember one such other occasion, and it wasn’t particularly pleasant. My initial reaction when anyone approaches me while I’m busy doing something goes something like this: I’M UNDER ATTACK. WAIT, NO I’M NOT. AT LEAST, I DON’T THINK. WAIT, WHAT DOES HE WANT? UGH, DO I HAVE TO TALK TO HER? I see the encroaching form from the corner of my eyes, and I tend to […]

29.

A couple housekeeping notes to start. First off, you might have noticed I’m starting to write more regularly with my awesome blogging brotherhood, Your Other Brothers. It’s becoming tedious to continue linking my new posts on that blog back to this one, so if you’d like to continue reading my posts over there, go ahead and subscribe to YOB! I’ll continue linking those posts on Twitter and Facebook, if that’s more your jam. Secondly, I want to re-commit to blogging here weekly. Wednesdays feel like […]

Staying Through the Hurt

Last week was among my hardest weeks in many weeks. I’d said goodbye to two fantastic Couchsurfing guests, and I endured yet another week of training and work prep as my new organization continues to pass inspections and certifications and acquire total clearance for student admission. Even then, we will acquire students one at a time until we eventually hit our max capacity of 29. It will take more than a while to get to 29. It was a trying week that reminded […]

Surviving Jonas

Remember Jonas? The wintry storm that buried vehicles and tiny innocent dogs alike? Well, I lived Jonas. I survived Jonas; somehow, I made it out of Jonas alive. Heading into my ninth work shift, I knew there’d be some inclement weather that week. But I had no idea this weather would include a winter storm with its very own (made up) name. At the time, I also had no idea it would be my final week with this job — though I kinda had a feeling. […]

Nothing Can Get Me Here

Walking into base Friday morning, I was confused where I’d be spending this short half-shift. One board had me listed with the same group as last time, another board had me back with Matt and the recovering addicts, and yet another board had me with an entirely new group of teens altogether. Turns out I’d be spending my five days with a couple of those groups. I’d start with the same group from last shift, but within the same afternoon half the kids […]

I Just Want My Dad to Want Me

I walk into work on Tuesday morning and look up at the group assignment board, and my heart drops. For the first time in two months, my name is not listed beneath the addicts’ group. I’ll be returning to the first group of boys I ever worked with here, but now that all these months have gone by, only one original kid remains. Will he even remember me? What will the seven others be like? And what about all those other teens I’ve […]