As the conversation got underway and leaders began to discuss Mission Center of Houston’s theme verse for 2012, the youth started to chime in as well with their own observations and self-initiated input — much to the surprise and gratification of the leadership.
One of the guys, a 12-year old pre-teen participant who goes by “A.J.”, then proceeded to go home after the meeting before returning to Fletcher the next day with an original concept centered around the verse, Ezekiel 36:26, which reads, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. A.J. also brought an accompanying drawing for a large, creative and colorful graffiti artwork piece. “It was all his own idea, his own concept, his own work,” noted center director Noe Ortiz. Over the next several days, A.J. and a couple of his friends prepped the wall behind the gym and accomplished the majority of the actual painting themselves with minimal supervision from Ortiz. “Wow,” A.J. reflected in the middle of the project, “I never thought I could do something like this. I’m an actual artist!” The mutual sense of empowerment, self-expression and gratitude is as thrilling for staff members as it is for the budding neighborhood artist himself.
A.J. and his fellow pre-teens and teens meet at Fletcher three times a week for an ongoing time of mentorship, relationship-building, faith discussion and physical activity. While it is Ortiz’s hope to work with and train the teens to eventually take on a more active mentoring role with the pre-teens in their community, volunteer support is always welcome.
To find out more about the youth programming and volunteer needs at Fletcher Center, contact our volunteer coordinator here.