Walking their Chosen Path

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and in celebration I decided to do a bit of research on the Holiday and its origins.

Photo by Darin Reyes

Photo by Darin Reyes

I grew up in the Chicago area, so this Holiday has always been a fairly big deal in my community, even if not necessarily in my life. There, most of my friends would wear green on the day, the city would dye the river green, and we’d usually have a small party at school.

What started as a religious Holiday has largely become a secular celebration of eating, drinking, and parades. In general I don’t celebrate the Holiday, however, several years ago I happened to be in England during the celebration, and have since had new appreciation for the festivities. Not only was there a major parade, full of music and dancing, but also a large street festival, full of traditional arts, craft and foods.

St. Patrick was a 5th century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Much is a bit uncertain about his life, but it is believed that at the age of sixteen he was kidnapped by pirates and enslaved for 6 years in Ireland. It is during this time that he found God, and eventually escaped his captors and returned home.

He eventually felt led to return to Ireland as a missionary, and he again faced hardships. Since he was an outsider, and refused gifts of kinship from local lords, he was left without protection, and was robbed and beaten on multiple occasions. But he continued on his mission, and eventually became the legend that we still remember today.

I think what’s interesting about his life in particular is his resilience and determination. Life could have been easier for him. He could have escaped and never returned to Ireland, or he could have befriended a local lord and received his protection. But he chose to walk his own path, in his own way, and perhaps that is why he is so remembered today.

At our Leaven centers, we are giving kids the skills they needs so they can walk their own path. We help them build a foundation that will carry them into a successful future, and inspire them to live the best lives possible. By helping students start their educations strong, we know that they can accomplish great things, and is just one more part of helping kids and communities rise.

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