Outcomes Offered

■ Discovery of your own abilities

■ The values of community

■ The rewards of kindness

You know, sometimes when you are a kid, it is easy to feel pretty helpless or powerless. Indeed, if you stop and think about it, there are so many things that you can't do. You can't stay up as late as your bigger brother or sister. You can't play sports as well as your football or basketball heroes. You can't do some of the stunts that other kids do at the skate park. You can't get the results at school that your parents seem to expect that you should. Sometimes it is hard to see that you even have the potential to develop any of these abilities. How could you ever get to be a league football player when you fumble every time you try to pick up the ball? What you want to achieve may seem such a long way in the future that it feels you will never reach it.

Well, I once heard an inspiring story—a true story, I believe—about a boy named Trevor. It shows there are little things kids can do that make a big difference. One night Trevor was doing what a lot of other 13-year-old kids would be doing: He was watching TV. On the news he saw a story about some homeless people sleeping out in the cold on the streets, in a downtown area of Philadelphia where he lived. Trevor had never really stopped to think how fortunate he was to live in a fairly well-to-do suburb of the same city. The story of the homeless people touched his heart and he began to wonder what he could do to help these people.

It might have been easy for Trevor to forget about it. There are so many sad stories that you see on TV at times. This could have been just another that he ignored.

Trevor also might have thought, Well, what can I do about it? I'm just a kid, but he didn't. Instead he began to wonder how he might help and that led him to remember there were some spare, unused blankets in their garage. So he went to his father and asked if he could take them to the people downtown who had no homes to go to for the night.

Trevor's father might have thought the request a bit strange. It is easy for us to want to hang on to the things that we have, easy for adults to think that they've worked hard to get what they own, so why should they give it away? I guess it is much the same as a kid thinking, It took a long time to save up my pocket money to help buy this new bike, so why should I lend it to a friend who needs to get home in a hurry?

Now, Trevor's dad was a kind-hearted guy. He drove Trevor downtown to hand out their few surplus blankets to some of the people on the streets. I guess when it came time to curl up and sleep that night the people were pretty happy for the added warmth of the new blankets.

Trevor was happy, too. He felt good about giving out the blankets. He felt an inner warmth, almost like he had been wrapped up in an emotional blanket himself. But he realized there was a risk— it might feel so good that you'd want to do it again.

The next day Trevor went to his local grocery store and other public places in his neighborhood where there were notice boards. He put up signs asking for people to donate any spare blankets or food they didn't need. The result was surprising. Kindness was contagious. Trevor found so many people were willing to help that within a week he had filled his dad's garage with food and blankets. What Trevor had started with his kindness grew and spread throughout the community. It wasn't long before people's generosity overflowed from his dad's garage and Trevor and his dad had to look for a bigger building to house all the gifts being donated. Would you believe there are now a number of special warehouses throughout Philadelphia that stock food and blankets to feed and warm the homeless? They are all called "Trevor's Place."

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