I started coming to my church as a Girl Scout and ended up a president. When I was younger, my Girl Scout troop met at this church. A lot of churches, as you know, lend their space to community groups for their meetings. The more I got to know the building and the people in it, I realized that a church was more than an old building — it was a place where I could belong.

A few years later, my whole family began coming to the services and now I'm the president of my church's youth group. Through the youth group, I meet other people my age from around the city and the state. Sure, there are some weeks when there’s not as many people at the youth group as I’d like, but there’s always something different, and that’s what keeps me motivated. There are so many different people at church, but we're all interested in each other.

At school, most kids my age seem more interested in themselves than in other people. You know what it's like, different groups don't talk to each other, and you're constantly aware of “who” or “what’s in” and “what’s out.” This gets really old, really fast. By the end of the week, I'm exhausted or sometimes even unmotivated, but then I actually look forward to coming to church.

My church gives me that “oomph” that I need to get through the week. It gives me something to leave with and something to look forward to. There are so many things that people think about teenagers or expect of us but, at church I feel comfortable.

At my church, there are so many people interested in what I'm doing and who I am. Adults are always asking me where I want to go to college, and even though I’m only 16, they’ve made me think about it. I’m more interested in my education because I know that people are interested in me. I want to go to college to get a degree in education so I can teach and give back in the way the church has given to me. I help out with our Bible Study class now, and I hope I will able to stay near the church later on.


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