What Could We Do?

What could we do with $1,000?

We were recently asked this question when applying for a grant to help fund the David Glasser Foundation Sports programs.

This is our answer –

With a grant of $1000 we can change the lives of 10 kids.  These kids live in one of the highest crime areas of Phoenix.  One or both of their parents are in jail so they live with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or friends.  They come to the first day of school with no backpacks and no supplies because the people they are staying with are struggling just to keep shoes on all of these growing kids.  These are the ‘extra kids’.  These are our kids.
Our ‘extra kids’ work hard at school, always doing their homework and assignments.   They  behave in class, wanting to learn as much as they can, and they try to help other kids learn, too.  They don’t understand why some of the kids are messing around and pretending to be sick so they don’t have to come to school.  Don’t they understand that they need to be smart in order to get ahead in the world and get out of this neighborhood where so many bad things happen?
Our ‘extra kids’ often feel like they don’t belong anywhere.  They see the flyers around school for the David Glasser Foundation Basketball league but they could never ask the people they live with to spend that kind of money on them.   These kids love basketball – they love all sports and want to grow their skills in any and all of them.  They hear some of the other kids at school talking about the league’s Wednesday basketball practices where the coaches really make them work them hard but its fun.  The kids that are part of the league also talk about other things they learn – like respect, dependability, and teamwork.
Our ‘extra kids’ know that the league is named after a Police Officer who was killed in their neighborhood while he was working to help make it a safer place to live.  They understand that David Glasser made a difference.  Our kids dream of making a difference in this world as well, they just aren’t sure how that is ever going to happen.  There are days that they are very discouraged by their situations and they don’t know if all of their hard work is worth it because nothing seems to be getting better.
But that all changed the day they received a scholarship letter from the David Glasser Basketball League!  The letter said they were chosen to receive a full scholarship for the league because of their excellent behavior and participation in their classes.  They were being awarded for their consistently positive contribution to their school community.  Their hard work was paying off!  They were in!  This is what they had been dreaming of.
Now they belonged.  Now they were being challenged to be the best basketball player they could be as well as the best person they could be.   Their team felt very special – different from just a regular team.   Was that because their league was named after a man who really cared about their neighborhood and proved it by his actions?
Their head coaches, who were their PE teachers, gave them a high-five every day when they saw them.  Their coaches really saw them and were interested in them –  often mentioning a great play they made in the game last Saturday.
They are no longer just  ‘extra kids’.  Now they are part of the David Glasser Basketball league and on their way to making a difference in their community.
#8144loveyou

 

I Wish

I wish I had had a role model in my Junior and Senior years of high school of a young person who loved people and loved their city enough to risk their life to help keep it safe.  Someone who, at a young age, decided to be an active part of the solution, not part of the problem.

I’m sure there were people around like that when I was in high school but I never heard about them.

This is one of the reasons I spoke with the Moon Valley High School’s Police Science Class this week.  I wanted to tell them about my son, David Glasser, a Moon Valley HS graduate who became a Phoenix Police Officer and was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  They needed to know that he, and other young people like him, start making choices in high school that put them on the path to make a real difference in our community.

A big difference.

Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen – these high schoolers are not too young to decide to become part of the solution.  Thank you to Steve Wams, their instructor, for giving me an opportunity to speak to these kids and for being their role-model every day in class.  High Schoolers have so much potential and so many possibilities ahead of them.  Choices surround them – good and bad.

Their choices – and our choices – help determine the road we travel through this life.  The road I now find myself on is very challenging but I’m determined to learn what I can as I experience the bumps, bruises and twists of this journey.

That’s another reason I spoke with the class.  I’ve learned some life-changing lessons since May 2016.  Before Davey’s death, when I looked down the road to the future, Davey was always there.  When I look to the future now, it looks extremely different.  Great memories and his legacy is still here but, every day, I miss his smiling face, his jokes, his constant planning to have fun and the flow of love that came from him.

I’m so glad he said that last ‘love you’ to me – it has made this struggle easier to bear.

Having been on this planet many decades, you would think I would know all about love.  Right?  Wrong.  The things I have learned about love these last 2 1/2 years surprise me.  I never expected them.  I’ve been a Christ-follower my whole life and I have seriously studied love and God’s love.  But I’ve never experienced the supernatural power of people loving people until Davey died and we all joined together to continue his legacy of love.  When we rise up together over our self-centeredness, magic happens.  When we join our hearts in spite of our differences, love changes things.

It’s one of the things I was excited to get to share with the kids on the Police Science class at Moon Valley.  Actually, the Fire Science class also packed into the room so we had wall-to-wall kids who heard that they could really improve this world they live in when they choose to love.

Davey did it.  Others have done it.  Now it’s their choice.

And it’s our choice.

What do we choose?

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Where’s Your Net?

We all need one – a network of people around us who support and love us and pray for us.

I’ve got a strong one.  My network is filled with family and friends – old and new – who care about me and want the best for me. Thank you!  You encourage me and love me.  You listen to me and forgive me.  You try to understand me, try to be patient with me and do a good job of putting up with me when I need it.  You make me smile and you make me laugh.  You bring happy tears to my eyes as you hug me and tell me you love me for the thousandth time.

Love you!

Growing up, I never realized the importance of Framily.  Framily are friends who are as close or even closer to you than family.  Looking back, I can see that my parents had a few friends who were framily to them, but my mother was the youngest of sixteen children so we were mainly surrounded by tons of aunts and uncles and cousins.  Hundreds of them.  Time for framily was limited.

After getting out of the Army, I drove all of my belongs down to Phoenix where I had never visited and knew no one.  I was in search of the sun.  After growing up in the Iowa winters with mountains of snow and months of frozen noses and a summer that was defined by 3 weeks of painful humidity, I wasn’t going to stay there.  Needless to say, I’ve gotten lots of sunshine these past 38 years.

I knew nobody when I came to Phoenix but I had learned from moving around in the military that there are good people wherever I went.  I started attending ASU where I knew I would get to meet a lot of people.  I made some friends, fell in love and married my husband.  I still keep in touch with several friends who were in my life from back then.

Many of my treasured framily come from being active in Christ’s Community Church in Glendale for 28 years. Church is a great place to find a framily.  I have very important relationships that began there and bloomed through the years.  Our children were brought up in that spiritual family and several of their church friends became their own framily.  My children’s framilies are still a priority in their lives.  Davey’s framily from that time are an integral part of the support network for his wife and children.  Several of them are at the core of creating and running the David Glasser Foundation.

In the last 2 1/2 years, members of my Blue Family have also become framily – especially Davey’s squad and their wives.   We have gone through hell together and that creates a unique bond that we will always share.  As a framily, we are supporting each other and working together to continue Davey’s legacy of love through the David Glasser Foundation.

In the craziness that defines our culture today, ya’ gotta have a net.  Do you have one?

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou