When moving to Greenville, NC in August 2013, I had no idea what was in store for me during the years to come.  After hearing about and visiting Covenant Church, Third Street Community Center was soon on my radar.  The first time I visited the center was to help Tonya Edwards decorate and set up for the Christmas Village Toy Store in December 2014.  One afternoon after painting an old fireplace mantle together, Tonya introduced me to some of the staff.  Tonya knew that I was an art student at Pitt Community College, and she thought being a part of the Arts on Third Street after-school classes would be a great opportunity for me.  She was right.

In January 2015, I started volunteering my time one afternoon a week teaching art classes at the center.  If there’s one thing I have learned that has stuck with me during my college career, it is that just by being in the right place at the right time, your life can be significantly impacted.  I helped many students complete their first watercolor paintings, and watched them discover talents they didn’t know they had.  My goal to become an elementary-level art instructor came to life at Third Street.

Years flew by.  Third Street Community Center developed into Third Street Academy, then transitioned into Third Street Education Center.  The staff changed, the kids grew up, new students arrived, renovations were made.  One of the constants, however, is a small piece of paper pinned to one of the bulletin boards in Room 108 that reads “I Love 3rd Street.”  I didn’t realize when I wrote that note in April 2015 that it would come to mean so much to me more than two years later.

Whether it was those winter afternoons I spent decorating and painting for the Christmas Village Toy Store, those Monday afternoons I spent teaching art lessons to the neighborhood kids, or the spring semester Service Learning classes I helped lead with my Art Education peers from ECU, I have truly been blessed to spend my time and be a part of something so evolving and life changing.

Now, a senior at East Carolina University and a Development Intern for Third Street Education Center, I am thankful that God directed my path to 600 West Third Street.  Without that seemingly insignificant encounter years ago, I would not have had this opportunity to meet so many kids, learn so many new things, and grow in so many ways.