“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 NET
Ah… I love this verse because it calls me to pause and reflect on God’s many blessings – not just at Thanksgiving but throughout my life as a Believer. Here are a few of the many blessings that Inspire One has received during the past 6 months:
Successful Biola Enrichment Days – Over 100 students attended 3 weeks of dancing, singing, cooking, crafts, drama, photography and other activities provided by generous volunteers. Tim and Allyson Schulz opened up their woodshop to teach the teenagers. Photography volunteers (Sheryl Ridley, Doug Holck, Duane Middlebusher, and Steve Reid) were out almost every day looking for inspiration throughout the town. Those moments produced over 60 entries to the Fresno Fair and the entry by Juan Rodriguez took “Best of Show”! (the bee picture on the left.) We took 2 field trips – 1 to CenterStage Theater’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” and the other to Gateway Ice Rink – where the Zamboni scraped the ice before we went out to build a pile of snow in the center (first time seeing snow for most.)
Highlights for me included starting every morning singing the Lauren Daigle song “First” with the kids pointing to heaven and singing their lungs out, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbWQV3OiRqA and one little girl in the program telling me “Mrs. Clark…God IS real!” and then proceeded to tell me about how her face had been bruised the night before and she had prayed for God’s healing. Her twin sister was the first to see that the bruise was gone that morning, and she pointed to her face and said, “See, it’s gone!”
Our new home at Campus Bible Church – After the closure of the Peoples School of Creative Arts at Peoples Church last year we were blessed to have Bethel Christian Center open their doors for us while we continued to ask God what was next. The leadership team from Campus Bible Church approached me about considering their two campuses as possible teaching sites. They told me about how they’d been praying for new opportunities to reach our community and how the vision of Inspire One resonated with them. I apologized for my gaping mouth and eyes like saucers. (I felt like the servant girl Rhoda in the Bible when her prayer team had been praying for the release of Peter from prison and when Peter shows up at the front door – she doesn’t open it but runs in excitement to tell everybody first).
Needless to say – I felt overjoyed and thankful! We’re just one week away from completing our first semester at Campus Bible, and their care for each family that comes on campus is awe inspiring. They’ve opened up the playground for the little siblings, and set out tables and chairs for the moms to sit and talk while their kids are in class. The teaching rooms are always beautiful and comfortable. They even allowed us to use a large storage room to build a dance room (with mirrors!)
Performance Opportunities – Inspire One students from Biola, Home School and public school marched together in this year’s Biola Raisin Day Parade where the judges gave them a standing ovation. There are not too many marching string orchestras in the world! (I googled it.)
Great Students – Every opportunity for teaching has provided an opportunity to watch the courage of learning, and that spills over into helping others in our classes. Students, like Naomi, in Children’s Choir, who leads her Part 2 section with full voice and encouragement, or Kelton de la Cruz, who uses his vocal strength in the high school Concert Choir to bolster other first time choir members in his section. This pattern is repeated in Dance Class and Visual Sound, Photography and Piano Class, Hand Bells and Art. It is not uncommon to watch the whole choir clap and cheer for a student or section as they achieve a learning breakthrough – even if it’s just singing out in front of class for the first time, or finally figure out how to play the rhythmic “fiddle part” in Strings Class.
Committed, Caring Teachers – Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” The teachers with Inspire One are constantly involving their students in the creative process, and our students are known to go on to be teachers themselves.
Premiere Fundraising Dinner – With the beautiful dinner and venue donated by Bruce and Denise Kinabrew, dessert and silent auction items donated by guests and community businesses, entertainment provided by the Inspire One Combined Strings and Mixed Ensembles, and heart moving testimonies from students and parents – it was a beautifully uplifting evening where people from different cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds felt like family. (Over $10,000 was raised!)
I’m so thankful for all the parents, volunteers and donors that believe in and have furthered the vision of Inspire One in bringing our community together through music and the arts, and the all encompassing love of our Creator.
Inspire One! Inspire On!
Licia K Clark, Executive Director