Live Like LucasThe non-profit organization Live Like Lucas was founded in August of 2015 in order to accomplish the goal of empowering youth to spread kindness. Our first official event was on January 16, 2016 where we had over 200 youth as well as adults participate in service projects and random acts of kindness in the Grand Rapids area. We served a pancake breakfast at Park church, made over 100 lunches and hygiene kits and distributed them to the poor along Division avenue. We made breakfast and did activities with the children at Hope Community, which is temporary housing for single moms and their children. We went to nursing homes and played bingo and bowling with the elderly. We distributed fifty 10.00 gift cards at Meijer as a random act of kindness. The result of just this one day was astounding. The volunteers had their eyes opened to situations that they had never been in before and met people unlike they had ever encountered. They saw people in poverty as real, worthy, human beings who weren’t just lazy. They saw the elderly, as one student put it “peppy and funny and mischievous.” They connected with people who were far outside of the Forest Hills “bubble.” And they wanted to go back. They wanted to do more. They asked, “When can we do this again?” Live Like Lucas is not just about spreading kindness out on the streets of Grand Rapids but also in our schools. We are currently researching programs and speakers to encourage our youth to practice kindness EVERY DAY- not just to their own friends but to those who feel alone and disenfranchised. We want to encourage friendships across all social, racial, and socio-economic boundaries. Teaching kindness also needs to start young. We are working on a program with “Lucas puppets” for the social workers to use to teach lessons on being kind to others and encourage conversation about sadness and loneliness and bullying. The kids will be able to put letters to Lucas in a mailbox so they can express their feelings and in turn the social workers can address these issues. One especially powerful method of learning about kindness in a global way is through mission projects. Our goal for next summer is to fund or partially fund at least 10 trips to Guatemala for kids who would otherwise be unable to go due to financial concerns. Lucas went 2 years ago with my grandparents and it was life changing for him to see the utter poverty and lack of medical care that was available for these people they visited in remote villages. He was prompted to really think about what his future looked like- he had planned on going into the medical field and now felt drawn to the mission field. Live Like Lucas has a vision of youth who look outside of themselves, look outside of wealth and power and popularity as goals and really see the world as how it is- full of hurting people. Even a small act of kindness can turn someone’s day around. It may even change their life.
Monthly Archives: June 2016
I’ve been training for the LLL 5k. Yes, exactly four weeks before the race I first tied on my running shoes and got out there and started pounding the pavement. You know the run (if you can call it that) slash walk thing you do when your pretty out of shape and it feels like some kind of medieval torture?
I used to like to run. That was about ten years ago. I remember how great and easy it felt, you know the “runners high” and the endorphins and all that? Well that has not come back yet. That feels like a different lifetime. In so many ways.
So the other day I was really trying to push myself towards the end of my torture session- my lungs were searing, my legs felt like lead, everything in my body was telling me “stop! STOP! This will not end well!!
I thought, this is my life. Life is like a beginning runner. The nice easy walking part is enjoyable, it feels good, it’s necessary. Yet if that is all we do it doesn’t really get us towards that goal of being a runner.
I don’t feel like there’s a lot of “walking” in my life right now. I feel like I am hanging on to the edge of a cliff by my fingernails. Yes, there are those blissful short times when I forget. But it’s like going to the mall with a toddler- you are constantly aware of where they are because you don’t want to lose them- until you are distracted by a shiny necklace in a store window. For a minute you forget about the toddler until they start running away and then you start chasing them in a panic.
If I don’t think about him I feel like I am losing him. Even though he is not on earth with me everything that he was to me lives in my head. Every conversation we had, every hug, every precious moment of time we spent together is only stored in one place. I never, ever, ever want to lose that.
So, you say, that’s good right? You can think about all the good times with him and it makes you happy.
I wish. Every thought, every picture, every story, every reminder, every little thing that belonged to him that I still find hidden around the house is a cause of tremendous pain. Excruciating, wracking pain.
So back to the running metaphor- I am at the lung searing, legs like lead, heart pounding out of my chest, body crying out for mercy phase right now. Yet that is what turns a walker into a runner. No pain, no gain, right? If we don’t push ourselves we will not grow.
As difficult as life is right now I have complete trust in what God is doing. I have accepted the fact that this is really really sucky but I am going to grow through it. Do I feel like I am running into a concrete wall over and over sometimes? Yes. Yet I also believe wholeheartedly that God loves me and has an incredible plan for me. Christians suffer just like anyone else- we live in a fallen world. Being a Christian doesn’t put me in a bubble that protects me from all the horrible things that happen in the world.
So… as I was running and on the verge of giving up suddenly a light rain started coming down. I immediately thought of God’s blessings showering down on me: my four beautiful children on earth. A loving family. The friends that are always there for me. The people that continue to pray us through this difficulty. Knowing that Lucas is in PARADISE! As much as we miss him here is no way he would ever want to come back to earth. He gets to spend every day with Jesus. I am so, so beyond jealous.
I just have one favor to ask you. Please sign up for the LiveLikeLucas 5k. You can walk it, jog it, run it, gallop it- whatever you want. Without your support we cannot fulfill out mission of empowering youth to spread kindness. This journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
sign up here: