I know a woman named Theresa. She lives much closer to you than you think. She’s a hometown girl and she attended, but never graduated from Asheville High. She struggled with home issues and told me that she never saw many people from her neighborhood succeed. She says she didn’t have the confidence or encouragement to get her GED and go to college. Now she has two kids and they struggle because Theresa has her hands very full. Her children are repeating the cycle of poverty, barely staying in school and hanging out with peers in the same situation. Theresa loves her children very much, like parents do, but she knows they need a cycle interruption. They need solutions to some big problems, but she doesn’t know what to do. She doesn’t know how to open a door to something for her children that she herself has never even seen.
OpenDoors children navigate their lives encountering daily situations where they can’t access what they need, or aren’t invited to participate in what would benefit them. It’s not because the doors to these activities, these safe places, these otherwise normal opportunities aren’t in plain sight, but because these children carry such a burden they can’t even manage to grab the door handles. Their arms are too full to even grab the handles. Too full even to press that little button, you know, that automatic door opener on so many doors? People with abundant resources may not even think about that button. Those with empty arms, with enough educational and financial resources that lightened their load, show up at the doors to schools, to jobs, to sports activities, to summer camps, to our own comfortable and safe houses, and we just grab the handles and in we go, or someone holds the door open for us.
Imagine that as you approach one of these doors you are carrying a heavy double handed load…life’s burdens…your Mom’s second job, your learning struggles, your Dad’s prison cell, your little brothers’ and sisters’ breakfasts, your best friend’s drug habit, your own hunger pangs and sleeplessness. You know you can’t let go of these things because life demands that you carry them. These are the hard and fast things of your life and they are the things none of us can drop, unless of course someone helps us carry them. Then there’s hope.
I am appealing to you to help a child carry their load – open the door for someone who is small or overburdened. I personally give to OpenDoors because they open the doors for local children to opportunities most of us enjoy. It is not some huge appeal to “save the world”, it is more simple than that. As you approach a door, glance around. It’s a pretty small town. You live near and are somehow connected with everyone you see. Step up and simply open the door. How you do this one thing is how you will do everything.
Help a child today. It’s easy to give at OpenDoorsAsheville.org.
Author – Retired, anonymous, active and long time supporter of OpenDoors of Asheville