ever/after asks Mandy, “How do YOU change the story?”

Posted in Change the Story by christy winston on July 21, 2010

Gary and I have felt the most thankful for the new perspective ever/after has given us above all of the other blessings that have accompanied this step of faith.  This new venture ushered in a new way of thinking, and therefore living, where self is second to serving others.  What a reversal of everything we stood for and believed up until this point!  There were hundreds of times I would awake from the coma of stress just long enough to think, “Hmmm…that would be “neat” to volunteer at a soup kitchen or tutoring center or something…”  Then I’d be so overwhelmed with my to-do list that I’d completely forgotten about the whim I just had 30 seconds ago. I thought I was busy then…HA!  At a time such as this when my to-do list looks like it’s for 15 people, this is when I feel most compelled to serve…really?  Yes, it’s true!  I think it’s one of those times where God just gets such joy out of revealing himself even more because there’s no way that I could humanly manage everything on my own.   I’m not going to pretend that it wasn’t without hesitation that I drove (correction: that I had Gary drive me…because I was too scared to go by myself) to the Learning Center on Minnie Street for my first day of volunteering.  It’s kind of unbelievable when you begin in idyllic Newport Beach, hop on the freeway and drive about 10 minutes inland and take the exit for McFadden and feel like you’re in another world.  You go from gated neighborhoods to grated windows.  The difference is jarring really.  As tentative as I was about serving here, I was surprised how quickly I fell in love with it.  It was a quick connection with a few of the 3rd graders that clinched it for me.  At the end of my first day with them, the sweetest little girl in the group came up to me just before leaving and said “I had fun today” is a quiet but happy little voice.  At first I was afraid that fun was from the chaos that dominated much of the beginning of class because I had lost control of the situation for a while there (until I tapped into my Mommy confidence that is–2 year olds make this group look like cake).  But then she said, “I had fun with you today.” 🙂  Okay, that’s it…who put her up to this?!   I think I know who…Needless to say, after that I was hooked.

My dear friend Mandy and I have much in common, but our love for the kids of this inner city neighborhood is at the top of the list.  She has the true heart of a servant and evidence of that can be found in all aspects of her life.  I am so thankful for our friendship and the inspiration that I find from her day to day.  Read more about her experience with another stellar program that serves the families of the Santa Ana community, KidsWorks.

Mandy sporting her favorite t-shirt (of course it's ever/after!)

Mandy Cathy – KidsWorks

My husband and I relocated to Southern California 3 years ago, and it wasn’t long before a girlfriend asked if I would have any interest serving in a ministry in Santa Ana called KidWorks. This is a non-profit organization in a Latino community with the mission of “Restoring at-risk neighborhoods …  one life at a time.” I studied Spanish in college and have a love for the Latino culture, so it automatically peeked my curiosity. I visited KidWorks soon after her invite and was hooked. I joined with a few moms in the community and helped start a “Mamas” group to offer a support/prayer/community for local moms.  As I learned more about KidWorks, I found out that a large part of their ministry is after school mentoring. I help out a couple days a week with elementary kids getting homework completed correctly and working on character building skills.

Consistently, I feel that serving at KidWorks, is a gift from the Lord and something that I can do because of the outpouring of His blessings on me. He blesses us to be a blessing! I almost feel my “Change the Story” actually changes my life story for the better, much more than it actually affects anyone else’s story. I heard the CEO of KidWorks ask, “You want to try and understand the mind of the Lord? Flip life upside down, if you want to be served, you must serve, if you want to be first, you must be last and if you want to live…..you must die.”



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