Back in the Fall of 2010, a young gentleman from Franklin, TN arrived on our doorstep and for almost 2 years never failed to be here on Thursday evenings to teach the GED class. Gordon, a 16 year old from Ravenwood High School had a love and passion for teaching and was browsing the Internet for opportunities in which he could give back and help those who wanted to learn. He came across volunteer opportunities at The Salvation Army in our Life Skills Learning Program via Hands On Nashville, and well, you could say, the rest is history.
In speaking with Gordon, his eyes lit up with excitement as he shared on various students who frequented his classroom. He loved how so many of them were motivated about wanting to better their life, learn new things and provide for their families. Gordon shared that, “these folks didn’t have to be there, they wanted to be there and that’s what kept me going.” Gordon remembers a young man who was working at a restaurant, trying to make ends meet after he’d been released from jail. He went up to Gordan after he had obtained his GED and said, “I’m ready to go be a part of society; to start my new life” and he thanked Gordon for helping him get there.
Gordon will be leaving us this summer but we wish him nothing but blessings as he begins his freshman year at NYU with a full scholarship in Math and Physics research. His goal? To eventually work in Theoretical Physics but his heart is to reach out and continue volunteering as a teacher. In fact, he has already begun researching local Salvation Army’s in the NYC area so he can begin work with them while he’s in school. Gordon told me that, “my responsibility is not only to myself but to the people around me. It’s my responsibility to help make other people’s lives better using the gifts I’ve been given.”
Gordon, we will miss you but know that you planted many a seed in the hearts and minds of students who entered your classroom every Thursday evening. You instilled hope, encouragement, support and knowledge, and from this impact, more lives will be changed as they carry on what they have learned, and seek to make a difference in the lives of Others! What an amazing light you shine, you are indeed a Sally Star!