Christ-centred Education Changes EverythingOthers, Education , Leadership
Contributed by: EduDeo Ministries
“Now I Feel More Hope. I Feel More at Peace.”
Students are at the heart of EduDeo. Everything we do comes back to them. Every workshop, every mentoring, every project comes back to giving students hope and a future. Students like Argel.
Argel is seventeen years old and lives in northern Belize. When he sits in the school yard at Cornerstone Christian High School, he feels the most at home.
“The first time that I came here, I felt peace. I felt a lot of peace.” Argel had been expelled from his previous school, and this expulsion made it very difficult to be accepted into any other school. But Cornerstone knew they could give him a chance.
It wasn’t an easy transition, though. Yadira, Cornerstone’s principal, remembers what Argel was like when he first came to school: “The first year I met him, he was a very isolated student. He would keep to himself. And if you would greet him, he would just evade you.”
Argel’s home situation wasn’t always easy, and he struggled with drug use from age fifteen. When his teachers found him with marijuana at school, they called the police, and he should have been expelled automatically. That was the school’s official policy.
But Yadira knew there was a better way.
Just a few weeks before, she had attended a Walking Together workshop on Restorative Practices. There, she had learned concrete strategies for handling conflict and restoring relationships at her school – she had learned methods to offer hope to students who thought they had none.
So Yadira invited Argel, Argel’s mother, and the city’s police officers to join her for a restorative circle. Everyone was asked to sit in a circle and given the chance to speak, the chance to say what they were feeling, and the chance to make things right. The circle offered hope. Yadria brought a list of restorative questions, a talking piece to ensure everyone had a voice, and her confidence that God would show Himself in the situation.
“I’m thankful for Restorative Practices. It came at the right time. Whenever I reflect on this story, I say, ‘When God calls us, He equips us.’ It [the circle] was a tool that I had to use, and I don’t regret using that tool. I feel that was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
That’s why we believe investing in teachers and leaders is one of the best decisions we can make for the sake of students. We pour into leaders like Yadira so she can pour into her students – and see them reap the benefits.
“From personal experience, I’ve learned a lot about God,” Argel says as he reflects on his time at Cornerstone. “Little things make me realize there is actually a sense of help and a sense of care. I’ve had a lot of experiences in my life where I feel hopeless, doubtful, and in despair. But now I feel more hope. I went from one step to a hundred steps forward. I feel more at peace. I’m more confident in myself that I can make good and better decisions in my life. Not only that, I feel I do have a purpose. I have something bigger planned for me.”
And Yadira couldn’t agree more. “He’s still struggling, but he’s found a different way. He’s found that people do care. I feel that if I had taken the decision of expulsion, then that would have just proven to him that people don’t care. He used to walk like he was trying to hide. But now the smile we get from him and his willingness to help… he’s a totally different person.”