Pond and Pai are twin brothers that have been in our Mission: 300 program for the last two years. The brothers have been an active part of our leadership team for the last six months. Together they have brought in over twenty guys into our program through their friend networks. In the beginning, they would come to our group with their ankle monitors assigned to them by the Department of Probation. Now this week, they were asked by the Department of Probation to share with the staff and parents of how their lives have changed so dramatically.
This all came about when we received a call from the Department of Probation that their mother (no father talked about) visited them last week. She met with P. Dah, the Deputy Director, and broke down in tears. For the first time her tears over the boys were not out of sorrow, but joy. Here reason for the visit was to share her heartfelt thanks for helping her boys become something she always desired, but had no hope they would ever become, responsible men. She was no stranger to this office as the boys had been in Juvenile Detention and assigned to probation numerous times. The results were so disappointing as she would soon find the boys gone all day and coming back home early in the morning angry, rude, violent, incorrigible and back in trouble. Now they are polite, responsible and respectful. Their grades in their vocational school went from 1.1 (one notch above failing) to 3.4(B+). She has even had to stop and admire the passion for life that radiates from them. She wanted to know what probation was doing so differently that her boys had changed. It was at this point in the conversation that P. Dah shared with her that they have been in our program Mission: 300, which partners with the Department of Probation.
After this report from the mom, we asked the boys to share what has happened to them over the last two years. They were happy to share and noted how grateful they were to have a place "that not only accepted them, but helped them to see that they had value." Pai specifically recalled the time when he noticed his life was different. He was at school and a young man larger than him was causing problems. Pai approached him told him to stop and sit down. Normally his fists would ball and he would be ready to fight. This time was different. He remembered what he learned in the modules: How every action has long term affects, what is the motive for the action and that leadership begins on the inside. As he spoke boldly to this young man causing problems, his voice was calm and confident. The young man responded differently than normally (this was not their first confrontation together). Rather than provoking action, he agreed with Pai and sat down. It was at that moment he knew he was a different person.
Pai and Pond have been exceptional and reliable leaders in our Mission: 300 program over the last six months. If we were not told about their behavior we would not have known what kind of boys they used to be (except for the ankle bracelets). We are thankful that God is using Outboundlife and Mission: 300 to bring change to young men like Pai and Pond who were leaders when it came to the valley of problems, but are being elevated to new heights as inspiring leaders of hope.