There are many reasons I find myself saying that every moment is a gift. I found myself saying that when I heard about the July 23 shooting at Stephens Lee Recreation Center. I am familiar with the Recreation Center and have been honored to be involved in the care and support of the children and families who utilize the facility. I am humbled as I walk the hallway of the former “Castle on the Hill.” The history and spirit of the former all-black high school is a reminder of the fight for equality.
Today, that spirit is evident in the young children who attend the after-school program and all the caring adults who watch over them and guide them. For the past few years, I have coordinated approximately 30 volunteer mentors at Stephens Lee Recreation Center. This community partnership, with the focus on building one-on-one relationships, has been fostered with grace and dignity by all involved.
What I have witnessed at Stephens Lee is not the image of fear and chaos. That had a temporary existence. Routinely, Stephens Lee Recreation Center is filled with laughter, smiles (well, except for homework time), warmth and generosity. As I walked into the center the day after the shooting, I felt myself repeat that every moment is a gift as I received hugs, smiles and questions from the adults and children I have been privileged to know.
For anyone who chooses to condemn Stephens Lee Recreation Center, I have just one question: What have you done recently to provide a safe, equitable environment in your community?
— Victoria Rose Tripp
Big Brothers Big Sisters