By Billy Bloomberg, Urban Mitzvah Corps 2018 Team Leader and 2012 Alumni
This week, we start the book of Deuteronomy, where Moses beings to retell the story of the Torah to the people of Israel 37 days before his death. Moses knows he will not be with the people of Israel for much longer. He tells of how the judges and magistrates were chosen to help teach the word of God and help deliver justice to the people. He recalls the recent hardships that came upon the people of Israel as they were unable to travel through the lands of Moab and Ammon, as well as the settlement of the promised land by the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the tribe of Manasseh. Moses gives this message to Joshua, his successor who will lead them into Israel: “Fear them not, for the Lord your God, He shall fight for you.”
This quote has given me something to reflect on for the past three weeks. Six years ago, I was a participant on Urban Mitzvah Corps and now I am back as a staff member. Six years ago, the staff on my summer lead me into the unknown. They led me to learn, grow, and be challenged not only in the work that had to be done, but as a person. While I have not spent the last 6 years wandering in the desert, I feel similar to Joshua in many ways.
I started this program nervous to be the new sheppard of this group of people. Three weeks have gone past now, and I, alongside the rest of the staff team, have watched these teens grow. From helping bring residents of Regency in from the pouring rain, to having a smile on their face everyday as they greet children at Play Safe, to slaving over a hot stove to cook meals for those who need them. As an alumni, I am proud to see the same reasons we started our work here in these teens. As a staff member, I am proud to see how much these teens have grown and to have been able to be a small part of that.