It was a brisk and grey day at the end of September when Head Start came for a class to help illustrate positive parent and child interactions. Outside, the hills were dressed with heavy clouds, while the Missoula valley floor felt the sprinkle of light rain. The seasons were changing and you could feel it in the crisp breeze. I had been serving as a MTCC AmeriCorps Leader at Empower Place (as part of Broader Impacts Group, SpectrUM, Missoula Food Bank, and Community Center) for a few weeks.
A family came in that early fall morning that really shifted my perspective on the basis of the people of our community. The mother of two came in with her son Chase. Abigail is a hearing impaired single mother. Her bright smile showed her love and care for her kids. She was doing the best she could for them, and it showed from the way that her son listened to her while her infant lay silently in her arms. Before meeting this family, I really didn’t have a sense of the people that I was serving or the community that I had just become a part of. I was starting to come to understand that these people are no different than my family or the millions of families across America just trying to live a full and happy life.
At the end of our time together, Chase did not want to leave. He didn’t respond to his mother's attempts or those of the Head Start people. I couldn’t blame him, I did not want to see him go either. His curiosity was memorable. He kept turning the train off, to flip it over and examine the wheels. You could tell the gears in his head were spinning. With the support of his community and the model that is informal education, this boy is going to make an impact. Such is life that we go from one moment to the next, unsure, but always curious.