22 Memories for 2022

Here are 22 moments that defined 2022:

  1. The smell of Big Red chewing gum as we put together Valentine’s treats for the young adults. No one in the foster care space knew we existed, so I kept calling and emailing multiple times to find out where the young adults were.

  2. Meeting our first young adult when she attended Book Club, via Zoom. She remains a faithful attendee in our program.

  3. Hearing my brother’s voice on the phone when he called to wish me good luck the night of our first program, only to realize he was standing at the office door and had surprised me by driving over for the event.

  4. Listening to Tyson Dever tell his inspiring story. If you are looking for a speaker, hire Tyson. 

  5. Hosting Leah, Mark, Judy, Dalton, Caleb, Jessica P, Cheryl, and Cary at our first event. It remains an office miracle that we served dinner, and I didn’t catch anything on fire.

  6. Being invited by the women’s program at my church to speak about Bates Mission. The event was rescheduled, so my first formal speaking engagement about Bates Mission was on June 30, the anniversary of my dad’s passing. Not a coincidence.

  7. Hiring Jessica N. and then asking her to make 100 cupcakes, 50 oatmeal cream pies, and a full charcuterie table two weeks later.

  8. Enjoying a slice of Texas sheet cake that volunteer Tammy made in honor of my mom on August 26th.

  9. Having three generations of Bates cousins attend the Bates Mission anniversary party. What a blessing it was to be together!

  10. Walking into an office full of laundry detergent. I’m going to miss that scent!

  11. Meeting Chassidy in person. She is the founder of Hope Home Ministry, and the first person I called when I started Bates Mission and needed advice.

  12. Standing in front of a group of former foster youth, pretending to be Bob Barker, playing the Price is Right to teach them how to shop smart and save money. That day was so full of the essence of my mom; the veil between here and Heaven felt transparent.

  13. Volunteering alongside Andrew, Maggie, and the many other young adults who help us. Watching them spend time helping other young adults gives me hope.

  14. Moving all the things with volunteer Dalton. He’s moved furniture into the office, supplies out of the office, and lots of things around the office!

  15. Going to Red Horn with Jessica P. We’ve eaten a lot of chips and queso, consumed even more coffee, and checked off lots of nonprofit tasks while working there.

  16. Waiting until Hobby Lobby floral went on sale so Whitney Brooke and I could buy all the greenery we needed to fill the flower box in the front room of the office. It looks good year round!

  17. Getting to use the giant, real (and very heavy) gold scissors during our Leander Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting.

  18. Renting a UHaul, plus using four other vehicles to transport household supplies to SISU, a robotics company in Austin, where they would pack nearly 200 housewarming kits in less than an hour.

  19. Speaking for five minutes at the beginning of the SISU night of service and then having multiple employees donate cash to us directly from their wallets. I’ve never experienced instant generosity like that before.

  20. Celebrating Christmas with Jessica P. and Jessica N. at Mama Betty’s. We work together all the time; it was fun to spend time together socially.

  21. Offering our intern a part-time position to stay with us after her internship ended.

  22. As we dropped off Housewarming supplies, we learned: Within the first year of aging out, 60% of young adults are incarcerated. When asked what they needed most next year, one housing program director said, “The young adults who come to our program typically only have the clothes they are wearing. We need everything.”

Everything…it echoes in my mind. We don’t have all the answers, but we know the need is staggering. Sometimes when I think about all the moving parts of the nonprofit, it feels like lots of spinning plates. If I dwell on it, I start to panic. The whole thing is so far beyond my capacity, both personally and professionally. But I’m not the one actually spinning the plates. God is. Bates Mission was born out of the very worst heartbreak of my life, yet being a part of it is the greatest privilege of my life. In so many ways, we are just getting started. I cannot wait to see where God leads us in 2023!

Happy New Year,

Whitney

Bates Mission

1904 S. Bagdad Road, #2

Leander, TX 78641

info@batesmission.org

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