The Child

Each week we receive applications for Organizational and Individual Scholarships. Last week I received an individual application that was different from the rest. It was written and mailed by a 13 year old applicant. Usually, they are filled out by a parent or coach or counselor.

This time, it was the child….he was seeing a possibility…seeing an opportunity….getting excited about it and going for it! I could tell by the handwriting that it was a young adult. Also, he did not complete the application thoroughly. He said he wanted to play soccer, but he did not state where or when or the cost.

I called him. He was nervous but charming. He was young and inexperienced and not sure of what he needed to do to make this happen. Instead of me being able to handle his application quickly, it ended up taking awhile. Six phone calls/texts guiding him through what he needed to do. I also needed to email with the Soccer Coach. It took time to place the boy in a summer program, but it was worth the effort.

Patrick Lives On would enable him to play summertime soccer at the local High School. It would keep him busy. Keep him off the streets. Focused on a goal. Part of a team. Mentored by a caring Coach. He would be given a chance to succeed at something. To feel good about himself.

His mother is a single Mother with five children. She does not have the resources or ability to finance her children’s different activities.

So, this young man took the matter into his own hands. Very impressive.

I needed to meet with this boy and give him the payment for the High School. He then needed to turn in the payment with his application for camp.

He gave me his address. It was a rainy, dark night and I could not find the house. After much looking, I called him. He explained that he lived in the local trailer park home. The address did not seem to match what he had given me, but okay…I headed over there. I stopped just inside the gates, no clue where to go. I called him again. He said, “You don’t know where I live?” His innocence astounded me! His world…so small…so contained in that small park…he assumed I knew his world. This youthful attitude was so endearing. I asked him to come meet me at the gate.

I waited. Two minutes passed. It was dark and rainy and I did not feel comfortable alone in a strange place.

All of a sudden, out to the darkness, a young boy without a coat or shoes came zooming toward me on his bike. He was so excited I was there that he raced out of the house without coat or shoes!! He had a huge smile on his face. He stopped at my car. We exchanged small talk and he took the envelope. Through the rain and darkness, I could still see the light shining in his eyes. The look of excitement…pure joy…..the hope in his eyes was priceless. He said thank you three or four times. Then he zoomed off on his bike, back into the darkness, clutching his envelope.

I sat for awhile. I cried because he reminded me of Patrick. My son’s youth and energy and sense of adventure and his desire to get what he wanted. I cried because I ached for my son. I ached to see him participate in a High School activity, which he never had a chance to do. I was overwhelmed with longing and sadness.

The tears finally stopped. I caught my breathe and thought of the light I saw in that boy’s eyes. Slowly the sadness was replaced with pride and a sense of accomplishment. Patrick Lives On is helping this boy. In honor of my son and all children, we are making a difference in his life. Helping him stay on the right path.

Every phone call, meeting, email and minute spent on this journey is worth it. It is an honor to contribute positively to society and along with my son, leave a lasting legacy. We are helping. We are turning lemons into lemonade.

Viva le Patrick!!!!