Elementary Intern Haley: Summer Wrap-Up

Today's featured blogger is one of our elementary interns, Haley French. She will be a senior at Harding University in the fall. 

Haley with (left to right) Tiana, Anisa, and Keandria
To say that working for Fortress this summer was a blessing would be an understatement. This job had it's fair share of stress, exhaustion, and frustration, but the great aspects far outweigh the more difficult ones. This experience was a huge leap of faith for me. I came in without much of an idea of what to expect. I knew I'd be working with kids, and I had heard stories from a friend of mine who worked here last summer, but for the most part I was walking in blind. For a planner like me, that was a struggle. However, God took the summer of the unknown and heaped the rewards on me through these awesome kids and the incredible interns I had the privilege of working with.

The children here at Fortress have by far been the most rewarding part of this experience. I have been so lucky to work with a group of kids that are full of love, energy, and creativity. I walked into this experience expecting to teach these kids, but I'm walking away knowing I've learned far more from them. Anything from simple life advice such as, "you need to brush your hair," to life lessons that I'm taking away from their strength and resiliency. I've had the opportunity to watch these kids grow and interact this summer. There aren't two kids here who are exactly alike, but somehow each one finds the perfect place for them. I've loved watching their individual gifts and talents emerge as I've spent time with them throughout the summer.

My favorite part of the day was always afternoon activity because it was the one time when we were able to be silly and play with all of the kids at one time. It was always a blast to get a chance to be one of the kids alongside them for a short part of the day.

As my time at Fortress draws to a close, I'm realizing how blessed I have been to be a part of such a great organization. I'm walking away with incredible memories that I'll be holding close to my heart forever. I'm hoping that this isn't the last I see of these children and the people who put their hearts into this place. I know God is going to do big things through Fortress YDC and the lives that it touches.