Antonio has been a wonderful servant of God, sincerely serving the Center for Sharing for many years. A couple of weeks ago he was working in the Collegium around 7:15am. A boy who appeared to be around 15 years old approached him and asked Antonio if he could take him to his school because he had missed the bus to Chiawana High School. Antonio said he was caught by surprise since he had never seen him before. He however said he was happy to help and they proceeded to the car. Antonio then asked him his name and the boy replied “Alex”. Alex told him that he was in Grade 9 and his parents worked at Tyson. Antonio asked him if he felt comfortable driving to school with a stranger. Alex replied he had no problems and felt very comfortable. Antonio said that the boy’s confidence in him surprised him and so he asked him again, how he felt so comfortable with a total stranger. Alex said, “I am not afraid. I don’t know you, but I know this community”.
Antonio said that he never met this teenager before and it was amazing how much the boy trusted him just because he was a part of the Tierra Vida community. As they were driving Alex told Antonio that it was the first time he had missed the bus. Antonio then advised Alex to concentrate on his studies and be grateful for his parents who are working hard to provide for him, so that he can become a successful person in future. Alex replied that he feels good living in this community and therefore is able to concentrate and do well in his studies. Antonio said that he was happy to hear that and told him that he hoped he never misses his bus again, but if he does for some reason then he can always ask for help. Antonio said that during the 15-minute drive they had a good time talking and getting to know each other and once they reached school Alex thanked him for his kind gesture.
This incident is a great example of how a safe and secure community can influence the development of a child. The Tierra Vida is a holistic, diverse community that strives to help the more and less able to participate, sustain and positively affect their own lives and those of their community thereby creating a safe, flourishing and a vibrant community.