• Final Week at PTM 😦

    Welcome back to my final post on my Turner Fellowship blog! It has been a wild ride this summer and I have loved getting to know everyone I have worked with this summer! For our final week we had Christmas in July which was so much fun! We did tons of fun activities and once again had a great field trip. As for Christmas in July, it was filled with lots of trivia games, (I was able to win Christmas movie trivia :)), outdoor activities, and of course some Christmas desserts. When we were not playing trivia, we were usually outside playing basketball or football, and we even had a “snowball fight” with water balloons and mixed that with capture the flag for a very chaotic day :). Towards the beginning of the week we also made frozen hot chocolate which was delicious and I would definitely recommend trying it at some point. At the end of the week, we went to Wave County again which is always a great time. I really enjoyed getting to hang in the pool with the kiddos, and especially loved the slides that we got to go on. Overall, it was once again a great week and I loved spending time with everyone. I am very sad that it is over, but I am grateful for all of the experiences I got to enjoy, and the relationships I got to build with everyone. I especially want to give a shoutout to Ms. Lekeyia, Mama D, and Ms. Seany for their hard work this year. They are honestly some of the best, most kind-hearted people I have ever met, and I loved getting to work with them. They do so much for the community and go unrecognized so I though this is a very well-deserved shoutout. Thank you to everyone who helped me through this journey, and for those of you who have been keeping up with my posts, I hope you have enjoyed getting to go on this journey with me. Thank you!

  • Week 5 at PTM!

    Welcome back everyone! I am sure you are probably getting a little bored of the exact same title every week, and I apologize for that, however, creating titles has never been my strong suit :). Wait where were we? Oh right! My second to last week at Preston Taylor Ministries just came to an end a few days ago. It was another great week filled with awesome experiences, and even greater people! As I mentioned in the previous week, this week was themed as our social media week, and fortunately for everybody, I only had to make one Tik Tok. Besides that, we did a few other things, both related to, and unrelated to the theme. Another thing we did was take a quiz that would tell us how obsessed we were with social media. I am happy to say that I was not obsessed with social media, however, I would be “mildly annoyed if I woke up one day, and all of my accounts were deleted”, whatever that means. Shortly after that I got up in front of the students and talked about my use of social media as an older teen/young adult and why I am not on Tik Tok. This got a lot of responses of “Mr. Graham why are you talking like an old person” and “you sound like a grandpa”. How sweet. All jokes aside, it seemed everyone really enjoyed getting to talk about their social media uses and why the liked using them. As for the non-social media related events, we continued to play a lot of basketball, a ton of uno (I got +16 on one set of cards so I guess the volunteer group just did not like me?), made some homemade ice cream with the help of our STEM teacher Ms. Mya, and played some 2k here and there. I, unfortunately, lost as Shaq this time and I do not think ANY of the kiddos will let me forget that. Altogether it was another great week, and I continue to enjoy my time serving. Next week, for our final week, we have Christmas in July so I am looking forward to that A TON. Also next week, the middle school director, Ms. Lekeyia, will not be here, so I am hoping in this next week that I can step up into a greater leadership role and respond to all of the curveballs thrown my way, both by life and by the kiddos. Thank you for reading, and I hope you join me next week for my final post about my final week at PTM!

  • Week 4 at PTM!

    Welcome back! I have just finished another week at PTM and as it happens, we are beginning to wrap up our time here for the summer, as camp ends in two weeks :(. That is beside the point as I am here to tell you of how awesome my week 4 was at PTM! The more I spend time with the kids and the staff, the more I continue to love the place an the culture PTM has established. For this week, in honor of Fourth of July, we celebrated by theming our week as “freedom week”. We discussed lots of different topics and even had the kiddos write letters to different senators and political figures around the United States! We rounded out the week with a fun visit to the Museum of African American Music, which was an awesome space! Whether it was listening to the different songs throughout the history of America, or even being able to create your own beat for a song, it was an amazing space, for kids and staff alike, and it seemed like the kids really enjoyed getting to experience everything the museum had to offer. Overall another great week, with a great crew of volunteers coming from Indiana and South Carolina, and we enjoyed having them to help out. Despite being this far into camp, I am still undefeated in basketball 1v1s, and do not let anyone else tell you otherwise (especially Xavion and Che’marious, because they will :)). This is one of the best weeks I have had so far, yet I am still working on getting to know some of the older kids (particularly the 8th graders) as they like to keep to themselves for the most part, but when they participate fully, it brings a whole new life to the group. As for next week, we have our social media week, which means we will be dancing A LOT, so I feel bad for anyone who has to watch me dance, because nobody deserves that kind of punishment. That being said, I appreciate you taking the time to read about my week at PTM, and hope you will join me next week!

  • Week 3 at PTM

    Another week in the books! Just wrapped up my third week a few days ago and and I continue to enjoy working at PTM. As I mentioned in the previous post, this week was Harry Potter week and we got to do a ton of fun activities involving that as the theme. Personally, I am not a huge fan of Harry Potter, but after everything we did this week I think I might give it another shot :). We got to do a ton of fun activities a few of which were quizzes to determine which house best suited us (go Ravenclaws!), a yuletide ball race, and even made “butterbeer floats” out of ice cream, creme soda, and butterscotch (they were delicious!). We even got to watch two of the first Harry Potter movies during our different blocks of free time, and as we wrapped up the week, Ravenclaw led with the most points so we won cup for the week! I am continuing to build stronger bonds with the kiddos and still enjoy the occasional game of uno (I get +2 and +4 played on me A LOT) or basketball games outside with some of the guys. I am still doing my best to adapt to an always changing environment with new volunteer groups, and different numbers of kids coming in each week, but I can already tell I am beginning to get better at “going with the flow” and working with what I am given. I am looking forward to next week as I approach the halfway mark of my journey at PTM, as we have a 4th of July/Freedom themed week. I hope you join me next week, and thanks for reading!

  • 2nd week at PTM

    Hello again! I know it has been a while since I posted, apologies for that, but I recently finished another phenomenal week at PTM! This second week was awesome as I feel that the kiddos are finally starting to warm up to me and treat me more as a friend, rather than a babysitter. We also had our first major volunteer group come in, coming from all over the U.S. and we even had a pastor who came all the way from Canada (shoutout to Reverend Phan!). It was another week filled with basketball 1v1s vs. ‘Mr. Graham” and the occasional game of NBA 2k. I would always play as Shaquille O’Neal as a joke, and one of the students, Xavion, lost to me as Michael Jordon, and is still asking for a rematch to this day. After all of our learning activities and weekly clubs, we spent our “field-trip-Friday” spending some time at the pool and playing a big game of capture the flag where the kids could use water balloons to get each other out, and inevitably a few got thrown my way as well :). Overall I had a great week getting to know everyone a little bit better, but I still hope to work on more effective ways of getting the students to respond to me when I need them to listen or stop talking. I am positive I can continue to work on this, and as I get closer with the kiddos, I am sure the listening will get better. I also just wanted to mention (as a little sneak peak) that next week is Harry Potter week, so everyone is looking forward to that. Thank you for taking the time to read through my second wee at PTM, and hope you join me next week, week 3, for Harry Potter week!

  • Week 1 at PTM!!

    Hello again! Just finished my first week at PTM this week and I am SO excited to tell you how it went. I had a phenomenal week and got to meet so many great staff, volunteers, and kids working at the PTM site called McGruder, and just had a great experience overall. Being the first week, everybody was getting into the swing of things so it was a more casually structured day, but that did not mean we still could not have a good time! Whether it was playing basketball out back or connect 4 with the students, I was able to make so many meaningful connections with different students and bond over different games and experiences with them. After finishing up the amazing first week, I am so glad I got to meet so many wonderful people, but I am going to continue to do my best to learn everyone’s name (it can be a struggle for me :)) and to continue to build stronger relationships with those in the Preston Taylor Ministries community! I am super excited for the weeks to come, and will continue to update you as I continue with PTM!

  • Intro Post

    Hello everyone! My name is Graham Pave and I am working with the non-profit, Preston Taylor ministries as a part of the Turner Fellowship program this summer. The Turner Fellowship Program is a program offered by Franklin Road Academy, the school I currently attend, which allows rising seniors the opportunity to get involved with a number of non-profits during the summer. I have been at FRA for my whole life, and have seen many older friends go through the process of the Turner Fellowship, and they all tell me of the great experiences that they have, and I am very excited to be able to have these experiences of my own. I am hopeful that this summer I will be able to create meaningful relationships with those I interact with, and hope to make a positive impact, big or small, in order to benefit those in our community, in any way I can. I will keep you all updated as I go along with my journey with PTM and I hope you all enjoy hearing about my experiences with the Turner Fellowship and Preston Taylor ministries!

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