Education is important for nearly everyone due to the society we live in. Living in a democratic society means that we as a democracy have to have at least some minimal knowledge that is shared amongst everyone.
For me, education was important because it was a way out of the environment I had been living in since I could remember. I knew that if I got an education, I would be more likely to become successful and to live a lifestyle of my choosing. The thought of not being able to support myself is scary enough. If I had to work a job the rest of my life that couldn’t support my family, I would be terrified.
Although I am not proud to be the first one in my family to go to college, I am proud that I was able to overcome the obstacles in life and still manage to get accepted to the Eastern Kentucky University. Hopefully the rest of my journey is as rewarding as the first two years have been.
Going to Ida Spence United Methodist Mission in City Heights ("The Hill") was vital to me continuing my education, and it all started when Pastor Betty Joe took over the mission. She was an amazing influence on the people in the community. Unlike other people that would come in and out of the community and make you feel like a lost cause, we knew she cared for every person in City Heights.
Although she cared for everyone, nobody was more important than the children. She would always say, “No kid wants to be uneducated, but every kid wants to be cool. If the cool kids are uneducated then the rest will fall down with them.” So, Pastor Betty would focus in on the “cool kids” and the rest followed suit. She would have after-school programs for kids who needed somewhere quiet to study, and even provided food, drinks and music. She helped us realize that without education there is nowhere to go beyond where you currently are.
When the mission changed hands, of course, she made sure it was in great hands, if not better. Pastor Tiffany put the icing on the cake for me when it came to pushing for an education. She would try and get funding for the church to take the youth on "The Hill" shopping for school clothes, trips during school breaks, or even being treated to food. She would constantly try to find funding for different things to help push education on us. Even if she couldn’t get the funding, she would come out of pocket for a lot of stuff. And the trips were always an amazing time for us so it really pushed a lot of kid to do better.
My family couldn’t afford to travel when I was growing up. Up until the age of 14 I had never beenoutside of a 20-mile radius of my hometown. So seeing Louisville, Ashland, and Lexington were jaw-dropping to me. Even though these events were still in Kentucky, just seeing and traveling through new cities made me realize the world is so much bigger than City Heights. Yet I look around my neighborhood and see four generations of family living up the street from one another who’ve never even left the state.
I could never thank Pastor Tiffany or Betty enough for what they helped me realize at such a young age. I honestly believe if not for the mission, then I don’t know if college is something I would have even considered. It was one of the few bright spots in such a dark-feeling community.
Demoore Gray lives in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. He is currently a communications major at Northern Kentucky University and in interested in pursuing a carrer in broadcast media becoming a news anchor or public relations professional.