Keller Williams “Red Day” – WOW

Koinonia Homes for Teens was blessed beyond expectations this month by Keller Williams Reality’s Big “Red Day!” With over one hundred strong, Keller Williams’ agents and contractors showed up at virtually every home, as well as our school, armed with paint brushes, tools, picks & shovels. With the intent of repairing, improving and beautifying, the Keller Williams’ team accomplished an unimaginable amount of projects. From cutting down several large dead trees to painting complete interiors of our teens’ homes, the projects numbered in the dozens.

More importantly, watching our teens’ response to so many wonderful caring and giving people was profound. To have Keller Williams’ culture of giving back to the community being acted out right before our “at risk” teens’ eyes left no doubt that they were loved and cared for. While Keller Williams came with the intention of remodeling our homes, they actually repaired hearts.

Our gratitude goes out to the Keller Williams’ team on so many levels. It was an honor to meet and discuss the needs of our young people with such a dedicated and responsive group. Their big “Red Day” of community service will have a long lasting impact on the service we provide to our young people.

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Diego’s Graduation

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The only thing better looking than the beautiful spring day on March 13th was Diego, a wonderful young man graduating the Koinonia Homes for Teens program. Surrounded by his friends and family, Diego received full honors as he was presented with his Certificate of Graduation and his graduation ring. He was also the recipient of an Angels in the Alley $1,500 transition scholarship.

Diego’s mentor, Justin LaCasse, opened the affair with an overview of Diego’s time a Koinonia and the strides he took to overcome the issues he faced early on. As Diego took the stage, he thanked those who had touched his heart while supporting him. Whether staff, peers, counselors, or community members, Diego took the time to thank each of them and verbalize his gratitude.Diego's Scholarship He also took the time to encourage all of his peers and let them know that they could all be as successful as he had been at Koinonia.

The line of those who wanted to speak into Diego’s accomplishments grew. After an hour or so, Justin finally brought the graduation to a close with a prayer from Mama T, Teresa Tift. All in all, it was a beautiful afternoon and a wonderful event. All of our hearts go out to encourage Diego in the next phase of his life. He is a solid young man with a heart of gold, what else do you need?

 

Jesse’s Story by Staff, Ken Avila

Jesse's PhotoHere at Koinonia, the holidays can be a hectic time among the slew of errands to be run, the onslaught of festivities to attend, and the last minute details to be done. Here at Koinonia we also know that our efforts are not in vain. We know that what we do has meaning, and gives us strength to continue on throughout the Christmas season.

This is Jesse. He has been at Koinonia for almost a year now, and is in the second phase of our program. Jesse can definitely be described as an intellectual. He spends his time really diving into the topics he enjoys, and also loves playing video games. One thing we have come to learn about Jesse is that he does not smile very often. Jesse was here a few months before we knew he was even capable of smiling. Over the last few months, Jesse has improved in showing his emotions in a healthy way and has even got into the habit of wearing a smile when he’s genuinely happy. In this picture Jesse is displaying two of the gifts he got for Christmas this year—a sweater (that he immediately put on due to how much he liked it), and a book about philosophy and wisdom. When I took this picture I didn’t even have to ask him to smile because he had been smiling ever since he started opening gifts.

This is exactly why Koinonia exists. There are thousands of kids that are just like Jessie. Kids who have never experienced a Christmas, who don’t have a solid family, and who do not know what it feels like to have a Christmas full of Joy. We at Koinonia strive to be a helping hand to the teens we work with. A philosophy we have here at Koinonia is, “Speaking the truth and love, using clarity, directness, and compassion”.  Speaking truth and love requires us to manifest what truth and love is. In essence, this is what makes all of the busyness of Christmas worthwhile here at Koinonia.

To our supporters: You are the ones who make this Koinonia Christmas experience possible. We are able to provide these services to the Jesse’s of the world because of you. You made Jesse’s smile possible, and he is eternally grateful for you. Thank you for taking times out of your busy schedule to partner with us!