Youth & College: Fighting Hunger Inspires Continued Service
A rainbow of fresh roses decorated the center of dining tables while live, inspirational music filled the air. Grateful Los Angeles residents were welcomed to fill the seats and enjoy an evening meal served by 350 members of the Youth and College Division. It was the first Day of Service at the 102nd National Convention.
Busses lined the streets near the Midnite Mission and eager Youth and College members poured out the doors to receive their assignement for the evening. Some members wore aprons and hair nets to serve food and beverages, while others sorted and distrubuted clothes and non-perishable food items. The atmosphere was full of an energy that swelled like a balloon inflated with unconditional love.
After Mission President, Larry Adamson greeted the guests and volunteers, NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock took the microphone and took the crowd higher when she led the Youth & College chant. Once she left the stage, she joined the line of volunteers and served food with love and humility. The entire neighborhood new the NAACP was present and ready to fight hunger.
As the evening progressed 3,100 homeless men, women and children shared time and space with the brightest and best African-American youth and young adults. It would seem that the youth would inspire the guests, but this day, the guests ignited a fire in the youth to increase their level of community service when they return home. National Field Director Stefanie Brown challenged the youth to plan a service event as their next program. "I don't want to see another fun event as your next event. Take it serious. You are the ones who will effect and make social change in the world" said Brown.
The event hit home when one Youth and College Advisor stood and shared her connection to the Midnite Mission. A tearful Valerie Littleton-Cohen of New York told a courageous story of her family's search for her father. After months and months of research, they found her father, in Los Angeles--at the Midnite Mission. Cohen invited her children to stand with her as her father's decendants and legacy. She admonished the youth to never forget this day and keep service in their hearts.
Charged with emotion and a new found compassion, Texas Youth and College President Mark Crump jumped up and led another round of the Youth and College chant. Crump paced the floor and sealed the event with a promise to continue this effort after the convention.