After a busy December full of many holiday-related activities and visits back to home states to spend Christmas with family, it was comforting to return to our regular routines in the Bronx. The kids started back to school and Graffiti 2 started back with our afterschool program. It wasn’t quite the normal routine, however, as Andrew Mann had surgery and was out for much of the latter part of January. The kids and teens seemed to enjoy a new roster of Happy Hour activities after their homework and Bible study that included drumming, knitting, strategy games and basketball. As a rule, January is one of the slower months, simply because there aren’t any major events going on and everyone is just getting back into the swing of things.

During such a month, it can be easy to overlook those special moments that sometimes mean as much, if not more, that the events. One of the young boys that we pick up in the afternoons to take to afterschool can be quite the handful, ignoring simple requests and speaking disrespectfully. From the beginning of afterschool in September until Christmas, this behavior had become the norm. A few days ago, he exhibited his usual brand of disrespect, but this day was different. Before we got to the church, he had apologized, without being prompted to do so, to the staff member to whom he had spoken so rudely just a few minutes before. Sweet, but powerful, moments like this, accompanied by the very welcome return of Andrew to afterschool, helped make this a January to remember.

-Jess Medlock