Missions / Student.Go

Called to serve

By Matty Grace Gilliam

I have served with Student.Go for two summers. The summer of 2021 I served virtually with Angel Pittman. At the time of my internship, Angel Pittman was an educational advocate in Miami, Florida. She taught parents how to advocate for their children’s needs. That summer I was given the task of making an educational video using a software called Toonly. With Toonly, I made a video describing Angel’s work. The goal of this video was to inform parents and other potential educational advocates of her services.

The summer of 2022, I served with CBF field personnel Marc and Kim Wyatt at Welcome House Raleigh. Welcome House serves the refugee population in Raleigh, North Carolina. They provide temporary housing for refugees upon arrival. Welcome House also ministers to these families after they move out. My job at Welcome House Raleigh was to engage with former guests. I regularly visited with an Afghan family of 10. We would play cards, make crafts, play monkey in the middle and work on English skills. I also worked at a children’s camp located at a Raleigh Parks and Recreation center in a neighborhood where former Welcome House guests live. At this camp, I got to minister to refugee children and children from the Raleigh community. The best part of camp was watching children from completely different worlds interact and include one another.

My favorite memory from my time with Student.Go occurred while working with the Afghan family of 10. This family has my heart. They fed me, made me laugh, taught me and loved me. We loved to play UNO together. With so many people, UNO is a great game because it is an easy way to include everyone, and it is also a great way to practice using colors and numbers. One afternoon while playing UNO, lots of wild cards and plus four cards were played. When played, players can change the color. We kept changing the color to yellow. As a result, the word yellow was repeated over and over again. Next thing I know, the two-year-old yells “YELLOW.” As yellow comes out of his mouth, everyone is surprised. Everyone is laughing, smiling, and saying “Yellow!” “Yellow!” “Yellow!” It was such a simple moment, but at the same time it felt momentous. This little kid just said an English word, and the joy on his parents and siblings’ faces was beautiful!

My time at Welcome House Raleigh solidified my calling to serve the refugee population. My supervisor, Kim Wyatt, had a tremendous impact on me. She taught me that I can love my neighbor in the simplest ways. Love can shine through with a game of UNO or just a smile.

We had weekly meetings. During these meetings she would give me encouragement if the week was good or when the week was challenging. Her encouragement gave me the courage to do meaningful work even when it seemed intimidating at first. I am so grateful for her. I learned so much from all of my Welcome House family. They welcome with arms wide open. I want to welcome like them.

My time with Student. Go has allowed me to grow in many ways. I have become braver, more outgoing and stronger in my faith. The memories and experiences I have gained are so valuable and will stay with me for the rest of my life. I am so thankful for Student.Go.

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