For the past three weeks, I’ve had a couple of open spaces, aka white-space, on the calendar that we’ve worked really hard to fill. I typically do two assemblies and/or trainings in the morning and one in the afternoon. Thursday and Friday were almost wide open, for the exception of a meeting out of town Thursday morning and a phone call that someone scheduled with me using the calendly app.
So, I left my meeting in Gadsden this past Thursday morning and was headed back with a wide open afternoon. We had sent out hundreds of emails and made hundreds of followup phone calls to fill the space. Nothing seemed to stick.
Accepting the afternoon, and that Friday was going to be free, I told Lauren, who helps us out, that I was going to give my phone a break from calls and enjoy the hour or so drive back.
As I drove down the highway, I noticed a rural, country school in a farming community coming up and right. As I stared to pass it, something made me feel like I was supposed to be at that school. Without a second thought, I turned left and pulled in.
I walked in the school, used the restroom, asked a random student passing by where the office was, and began making my way there. On the way, I stopped and chatted with a few teachers in the hallway, and one great little lady ended up escorting me to the office to meet the principal. From there, we went to the lunchroom to meet the principal, who was standing with a broom and dustpan in hand. After a moment of chatting, he directed me to the school’s counselor.
I walked back to the office to meet the counselor, walked into her office and began to introduce myself. It went kind of like this:
“Hi, my name is John…”
She said, “Williams. I have your info on my desk and I’m supposed to call you to schedule an assembly.”
I sat down in her office, and we both began to chuckle a bit. I told her bits and pieces of my story and what we do. We ended up scheduling a 45 minute assembly and 90 minute HERO Training (this is our 21 day compassion challenge) for the next day.
As was leaving her office, she stopped me to mention that she forgot to ask what our fees were. I told her that we’re happy to work with whatever their budget was. She laughed and told me, “I can feed you lunch!” I told her that the lasagne looked great and we both laughed.
On my drive back home, I was on the phone with her and she said, “I really meant it when I said I can’t pay you.” That’s when I shared with her how thankful I am that we do not have to charge them a fee and that we were glad to serve them.
Remember that call on Friday from the random person who scheduled in with me? Well, I called the person to reschedule our call. We ended up taking 20 or so minutes, right then. Come to find out, it was another school counselor. This time, it was one from a school with a thousand students in a thriving city close to Huntsville, Alabama.
The counselor asked for the details of our program and everything is a go, even the normal full-freight fee which we would typically receive for our assembly and HERO Training.
The Friday at the rural country school in the farming community was nothing short of amazing. The students were tracking with me the whole time through my assembly talk. The HERO Training was one wow moment after the other! The students came up with some wonderful ideas to serve their campus over the next 21 days. One of the ideas is that they’re going to buy snacks to give out to kids who don’t have money at break time to purchase their own.
The pictures in this article are from the event at the school.
I’m thankful to be a part of this ride and to see that there’s a reason for hope in our youth culture!