By Essie Reinke

On Monday, after a long afternoon of orientation and training, the Broadwater Community Dream Catchers Team of high school youth concluded our session by celebrating their gifts and talents. Part of their program this summer is to uncover the gifts and talents of their neighbors. What better way to start, than by discerning your own?

We broke down “gifts and talents” into three basic categories – gifts of the head, gifts of the hands, and gifts of the heart. I gave them nine sticky notes and challenged them to come up with three gifts they had for each category.

We had so many responses! So many, in fact, that they couldn’t even fit on the page!  From athletes and actresses, to scholars and fashionistas, to mechanics and weight lifters, there were so many gifts to celebrate.

The end product, The Wall of Gifts, is beautiful, but the process in which it occurred was just as beautiful.

At first, the students were struggling to come up with ideas of what they were good at. Everybody seemed at a loss. Then, they started working together, and I heard the students reminding each other of their strengths:

“Remember that one time you helped me with my science homework?”

“I wish I loved basketball as much as you.”

“You were so patient that time you taught me how to make origami.”

This wave of encouragement carried over to our gift sharing, where each individual stood up to share each of their nine gifts as they stuck their notes to the wall.

The students watched and shared in the joy of their peers. It was truly an inspiring moment as I watched this community of young people encourage one another in their gifts and abilities.

I am looking forward to working with this incredibly talented group of young people!