I spent Spring Break 2017 giving piggyback rides, getting buried in wood chips, playing games of tag where I somehow always ended up “it”; and I had an incredible time. The boys of Third Street Academy and the staff that work so hard to create a bright and better future for them left a deep, meaningful impression on me. So deep that, when one of the boys was hugging me goodbye on the last day and whispering the worry that we were never going to see each other again, I immediately knew I had to return. I didn’t know when or how exactly, but I knew that I had to come back to Greenville, NC to visit the boys and to help the staff with their powerful vision for Third Street Education Center. On the bus ride back from my week long trip with a truly amazing group of Boston College students that became some of my best friends, I was left missing more than just the hours I spent running carefree with the Third Street boys.
It was on the trip that I first heard people talk about their jobs with such passion and purpose. Third Street Education Center has an incredible and inspiring mission to better the future of not only the young boys of Greenville, but also the entire community. A mission like this is not an easy one, but the staff of Third Street work tirelessly to see it through and to keep progressing. It was hearing Walter Strathy tell us about how God gave him the vision of Third Street Academy and the importance of a Christian school for young boys in Greenville. It was hearing Nathan White tell us that he was also called to Third Street by God and explained his own important role in Third Street’s vision. Before this trip, I don’t think I had ever heard someone talk about being “called by God.” While I have always believed in God, I began to question how and where God might be calling me. I felt inspired by these men and women and found myself looking for deeper connections to my own faith in the months following my trip.
Five months later, I felt God call me back to Greenville to help the staff prepare for the new school year. Third Street is important to me not only because of all the adorable and smart boys I met, but because of what it has taught me about God and my own faith. On my second trip, I got to spend invaluable time with Principal Beth Hinson and founding board members, Meredith and Richard Rizzuti. These people confirmed the power of God that I felt so tangibly the first time I was in Greenville.
The people who strive to make Third Street Education Center great are living out the Gospel and serving God in truly awe-inspiring ways. Seeing the smiles and recognition on the boys’ faces when I got to see them again gave me hope that God will call me back to Greenville again soon.
Junior at Boston College