Last night I spoke to members of a church about the GRUB Program. Zaquia and Krista, two young college women, who have been in GRUB since they were in junior high school, joined me. I was very proud of them for making the effort to be there, because I know they are busy with school and other activities, and because I hadn’t called to remind them (or nag them) about coming. I sort of put them on the spot once they arrived, asking them if they would join me in speaking to the group; always troopers, they agreed.
After we spoke we took questions from the church members. The final question was from my friend, one of the Pastors of the church, Barrett Smith. He asked the girls why they “stuck,” why they kept going to the GRUB Program. I was eager to hear their answers. This has been my $64,000 question for years, why do teenagers keep coming to the farm week after week, year after year, volunteering to do very labor intensive work in all kinds of weather. They hemmed and hawed for a few seconds, trying to come up with an answer and finally Zaquia said, “Because of Roy and Debbie and Jenifer.” I know that is part of the reason. I know the teens keep returning because they know the adults at the farm, Debbie and Ashley and I, genuinely care for them, but there is more; they genuinely care about each other.
These GRUB “kids,” from every race, religion, school, family configuration, socio-economic status, and neighborhood in town, come together and forget they are different. They become friends, a family. Krista’s answer to Barrett’s question was, “If you don’t fit in or belong anywhere else, you fit in at the farm.” They keep coming back because it is a home and we are a family. I guess I’ve always known the answer, but I needed to hear it, to get confirmation, to know that the work we've been doing for the past ten years is important; to inspire me to carry on and to strive to make the GRUB Program better.
Thanks, Barrett, for asking the question, and thank you girls for your beautiful answers.