This past Sunday, another tragic murder occurred in the East End. And as you can see in the news clip below, several members of the CHAT community were at the scene. Murray Withrow, our former After-School Director, and his wife Lauren, who teaches at Tiny Tykes, were on their way home from the year-end banquet for our Phantoms basketball team when they came across the victim and administered first aid. The shooting took place just a few feet away from the backyard of Matt and Emiline Lyell – Matt teaches at Church Hill Academy, and Emiline is the Associate Director of our After-School Program.
Matt and Murray shared a few more things that didn’t make it onto the news. The Lyells know, love, and trust so many of the neighbors on their block. The Phantoms banquet had been filled with stories of growth and hope by incredible young men and their mentors. Every day we see our students demonstrating their inherent value, potential, and purpose as children and youth made in the Image of God.
Tragic events like this remind us of the enormous challenges that our students face as they fight to fulfill their potential. Daily, they navigate under-resourced schools and block after block of concentrated poverty where crime and violence remain all too common. But in spite of these challenges, we are constantly reminded of hope. Hope in all that our students have already accomplished. Hope in what so many of you, our friends, volunteers, and supporters, are doing to make a difference in our neighborhood.
And on this Good Friday, we’re especially reminded of the hope that we have in Jesus. Hung on a cross that was meant to be a symbol of his defeat, He triumphed over the power of evil and violence with the ultimate act of love and sacrifice. And because Good Friday was not the end of His story, no act of violence or injustice will be the end of this neighborhood’s story. Driven by that hope, we believe and work towards a day when every student in the East End can learn and grow in safety and security.