Thanksgiving, Traditions, & Legacies

Thanksgiving is not looking very appealing to me this year. This will be my first holiday without my parents. My mother passed away unexpectedly in April of this year — just one month before I started my job at 18 South Youth Center, and my father passed away 15 years ago when I was a teenager. At 28 years old, I’m having trouble processing my current family situation.

In the midst of that, I’m learning that 18 South is not just about teenagers being influenced by adults who want to be their spiritual parents. It’s also about adults finding fulfillment and family in being blessed with spiritual children. My first spiritual daughter will be joining my remaining family for Thanksgiving this year. I told her that she will be one of the reasons I’m able to push through the day. Her home life isn’t what she wishes it would be, but together we can work on creating the kinds of family relationships we weren’t given naturally.

So my husband and I will be packing up a couple of teens from the youth center and driving half an hour up the road to my aunt’s house. We will start new traditions with new faces…the launching pad for new legacies. I’m grateful that God has blessed me with more kids than I ever imagined I would have in my care. And I pray that I properly honor those relationships that I’ve been given.

4 Responses to “Thanksgiving, Traditions, & Legacies”
  1. Verna Price says:

    Although the reason for the new traditions is sad, your wonderful outlook and open heart and willingness to share with both teens and adults makes you, Jess, a wonderful addition to my life. I want to tell you how thankful I am to be part of the Youth Center “group” and how blessed I feel that we get to share our lives. Love you.

    Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2012 14:12:32 +0000 To:

  2. Jane says:

    Just now going through email and reading this… geesh make a girl cry. It is so true that we are to teach, be a role model for the younger croud but so often they teach us in turn. It’s such a rewarding relationship! 18 South is such a great place!!!

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18 South Youth Ministries
P.O. Box 472
Red Lion, PA 17356

18 South Youth Ministries

18 South Youth Ministries strives to create opportunities for caring, responsible adults with Christian values to build authentic relationships with youth. The nonprofit operates 18 South Youth Center in Red Lion, Pa., which has reached more than 1,000 teens since it opened in November 2007.