February 2011 - Vol. 47.

Stanley Larry (right) with Yvette Rock, Founding Director of Bezalel Project in Detroit

.Time to Give Something Back:
Stanley Larry's Story 

Stanley Larry was one of the original students in YouthWorks-Detroit's Bezalel Project when we started our after-school program in 2003. (Bezalel Project engages youth in academic, arts and leadership training designed to help them succeed in life.) Stanley’s story is poignant – his father died when he was seven, he was raised by his mom in a rough neighborhood, he struggled with reading and other academics, he was facing many challenges – but God had a plan for Stanley’s life. 

People often share that it takes a village to raise a child. This rang true in Stanley’s life: his mom, YouthWorks-Detroit, Greater Works Family Ministries, Central Detroit Christian, YouthVille Detroit, and other individuals and groups had a part to play in Stanley’s decision to follow Jesus Christ. Now, Stanley is on course (and he is attending Henry Ford Community College this year) and pressing forward:  In addition to helping with Bezalel Project, he also does some volunteer service – speaking and sharing with inmates at a home for juvenile delinquents on the weekends.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every purpose under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).  Stanley has been poured into by many faithful people over the years, and has received much.  Now, he is finding that it is his time to give something back. 

- Joshua Rock, Director for YouthWorks-Detroit

My name is Stanley Larry, and this is my life. I was just fourteen when I started Bezalel Project. (I’m now 21 years old.)  At first it was just something to do. Me and some of my friends from Freedom Place [housing project] were going.  We were doing homework and learning about the Bible.  So as I got older I started going to youth group and learning more about God. A key moment for me was when I really started being around YouthWorks-Detroit.  I started to see the difference between when I was at school and when I was around YouthWorks, and I didn’t like how I was when I wasn’t around YouthWorks.  I was suspended thirteen times in my high school career, and all of these happened in 9th and 10th grades. YouthWorks helped me to understand that there was more to life than I realized.  I was able to go to Toronto and to learn different things.  I knew I wanted to get more out of life, and being bad and acting up wasn’t going to get me there – the way I was going, I might not see much more life. 

I started to see my life going the right way by putting God first. YouthWorks-Detroit changed the way I look at everything.  Being from the ‘hood, when we went places I’ve seen what was out there.  So I stuck around YouthWorks-Detroit.  Last summer, they offered me a job. I got to work with the kids from Bezalel Project.  It meant a lot to me, because I know where most of these kids come from – I know what they are going through and what their lives are like. Most of the kids have nowhere to go and everything at home is down.  Being able to come to Bezalel Project and know that someone will care for them – not because of what they do, but will just care for them for who they are – it meant a lot to me when I was going through Bezalel and I want to be there for the kids because it will mean a lot to them. 

That’s why I believe I am the man I am today, because of people from Bezalel Project. That’s why I am trying to give my time back to kids from the neighborhood.  Now I try to help kids like myself to grow up and live for the Lord.

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