• Jonathan Sheahen

One of the more hopeful things I've experienced...


I have had the honor of volunteering with UPN since it began last summer. Most of my roles, though, have been indirect or behind the scenes. I had spent very little time with the Street Leaders themselves. So when Jonathan and Shawna invited me to join in for the trip to Colorado, I jumped at the chance! What better way to get to know the Street Leaders than spending every waking minute together for a week in the mountains, right??

I grew up camping with my family from a very young age. I have long known the unique peace that is found in being outside for extended periods of time. (If you’re not familiar, the “unique peace” of camping involves quite a bit of chaos. It’s counterintuitive to call it peace, unless you have experienced it. As they say, “if you know, you know.”) Having the opportunity to share that with the Street Leaders was a perfect way for me to get to know them better. Throughout the week, we spent hours at a time on the bus, we completed some intense hikes, we cooked over a camp stove, and dodged lightning storms more times than I can count. In each of these situations, I got to see more and more of who these Street Leaders really are, and it was a beautiful sight. These teenagers are bold, brave, and brilliant. They are intuitive, empathetic, and adventurous. They have overcome more than I can imagine, and they live each moment so fully.

“Throughout the week, we spent hours at a time on the bus, we completed some intense hikes, we cooked over a camp stove, and dodged lightning storms more times than I can count. In each of these situations, I got to see more and more of who these Street Leaders really are, and it was a beautiful sight. These teenagers are bold, brave, and brilliant. They are intuitive, empathetic, and adventurous. They have overcome more than I can imagine, and they live each moment so fully.

I had opportunities to have one-on-one conversations with each of the StreetLeaders. In these moments, I made a point to ask each one, “what is important to you?” In a world where teenagers are viewed as distant, self-absorbed, smart phone addicts, these teenagers each gave me a thoughtful and beautiful answer. They talked about their families, their friends, and the gifts they’ve been given that they don’t take for granted. Knowing that these teenagers are being employed by Urban Promise to pass these qualities on to the next generation of children is one of the more hopeful things I’ve experienced. The way they love Jesus shows up constantly in the way they love each other. They are so full of the joy of the Lord. I am so inspired by each of them, and so thankful that I will continue to get to spend time with them in the coming months and years. The work Urban Promise is doing through these Street Leaders is beautiful and important, and the work the SLs are doing with the younger students is life-changing on both sides. What a gift to get to be on this journey with them!


-KrisAnn Christian, UPN Volunteer



14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All