How in the world can I begin to tell you about the amazing community called Cameron House? That after 140 years of service in Chinatown, it's still going strong and it's meeting the needs of folks who come through the doors every day? I was reminded of that last Sunday, when Cameron House young people shared their experiences and insights at the summer service worship celebration at the Presbyterian Church in Chinatown.
Casey led us in a new hymn he had taught while he was a volunteer sent to Fort Bragg Presbyterian Church to help with vacation church school.
Caitlin told us from the pulpit how she had grown up as a kid in day camp and vowed to be one of the least cooperative campers ever, giving leaders new challenges (an echo of my own story!). But she described how now she has given two summers to leading kids herself, finding novel ways to engage even the most difficult ones.
Gloria and Gabriela spoke together. Both are bilingual teens who came as immigrants recently to San Francisco from their countries, Hong Kong and El Salvador. They had become good friends over a summer of serving together as first-time day camp leaders. Both were filled with gratitude for the experience of service and marveled at the remarkable closeness that happens when people are drawn together to provide for the needs of others.
And finally, Brandon. He seemed to epitomize the amazing experience that has been repeated again and again over the years at Cameron House. He realized that while wholehearted serving others, he has also discovered a richness of life that has nothing to do with money. Embedded in a community that welcomes, accepts, and nurtures him unconditionally, Brandon said that he would be changed forever.
Would you like to become a part of keeping these inspiring stories alive in Chinatown? Whether it's in language appropriate family and individual counseling, a Cantonese speaking cancer support group in which recovered members come back to encourage others, child play sessions videotaped and watched by parents to learn how to help their children thrive, in the bilingual afterschool program where neighborhood children benefit from individualized instruction, or in group work with teens who are taught skills to grow into contributing adults, one thing is sure: lives are touched by compassion, individuals and families are transformed by love, and many people are inspired to become an ongoing part of the Cameron House community that exists to serve our neighbors and our neighborhood.
As a current board member, it is humbling to be entrusted with the legacy of Miss Cameron, to ensure that another generation of people have the opportunity to discover that service can be a meaningful way of life and that all of us are connected by a love greater than we could ever have imagined.
I invite you to join me in becoming a member of the Cameron House family and if you can, to dedicate an offering to ensure that the work of this place continues. We are thrilled to have a supporter this year who will match your gifts up to $100,000 during this Phone-a-thon period. We are grateful.
I look forward to hearing from you in whatever amount feels right for you. Every single gift is appreciated and encouraging. Thank you in advance for your conviction that this work in Chinatown is vital and must go on. God bless you and yours.
P.S. If you donate by cash or check, please note on your payment “Phone-a-thon Carole’s team.” 100% of all check and cash gifts received go directly to CH. If we receive your donation by Aug 30th (whether by cash, check or credit card) we can pull your name off the Sept 2-4 call list. All donations you give for my campaign will be credited towards my fundraising goal.