Reaching for the Sky

Posted on December 5, 2013

It has been eight years now since my family was moved from Zambia to Glen Ellyn, Illinois, by World Relief, a program that settles refugees from Africa in the United States. I was thirteen years old at the time of our move and now I am twenty.

I am half Hutu and half Tutsi, which are two active tribes located in Rwanda.  My family includes Mom, Dad, and four sisters. We lived in many parts of Africa during my younger years and together, we witnessed so much violence and despair happening around us in our life journey.

To witness the chaos that occurred in Rwanda has helped me understand how sacred life is and what friendship means to the world.  I can see the virtue everyone has within to face the complexities of life. God and faith continue to connect me to a positive path in life.

My family joined the B.R. Ryall YMCA when I was in high school and it has changed my life. I decided the Y would be a great place to work, so I applied for a maintenance position and got the job. The Y has positively impacted how I feel about myself. I have realized life is more about doing well and seizing the opportunities available to us all, which includes getting a good education. In the fall, I will attend College of DuPage for one year, with hopes of getting a scholarship to attend Wheaton College next year. I would like to study theology and mathematics.

The Y instills virtues, the staff is here to serve, the kids who come here are always so happy, and I take pride in making the Y look nice inside and outside.  Without the Y, I would still be the person I didn’t like so much. I wouldn’t have chosen to study theology and mathematics, and I wouldn’t have discovered that we all need each other to succeed in life.  Because of the Y, I am very proud of the man I am today.

– Denis