Ben comes to us as a brand new intern here at Fortress. As a Family Studies major at Abilene Christian University, he is involved in several children's ministries. He is not new to working with at-risk youth. Ben has worked the last five summers at Camp of the Hills, the camp that our students attend every summer. It is also the camp where some of our previous staff members have gone to give their talents to.
Our Volunteer Coordinator, Dani, brought Ben to us through the friendship they have. Dani suggested that Ben intern here at Fortress, and it didn't take a lot of convincing. Ben was attracted to Fortress over other children's ministry positions because of our "concrete vision of lifting people up out of poverty."
One memory that Ben will take with him from this summer comes from one week that Ben was sick and was forced to miss a week of work. Eight-year-old Darrien gave Ben a call checking in on him. He may not have been very articulate, but it "felt nice to be missed by [his] kids."
Some wisdom Ben would like to pass onto newcomers to the Fortress crew would be to pray often, and make friends with others in the ministry.
Another instance that will stick with Ben spiritually is making friends with specific people in the community. Helping in administering our Urban Experience program with the volunteer youth groups, Ben sees a lot of the same people every week. One of the stops the groups make during their Urban Experience is a bakery called 'Cakes by Delsea,' where Ben has enjoyed talking to and getting to know employee Ross there.
As we can all agree, there are hard parts with every job, and for Ben, the hardest part of interning at Fortress is trying to love kids who can't or won't receive love. Some kids at Fortress are less willing to accept love, and an important part of our mission is to encourage that they can.