Human spirit highlighted by campaign

Published on Friday, 20 December 2013 21:44 - Written by By Rebecca Hoeffner

Most of the time, the articles in this section are about a person’s faith in God. This one will talk about a different kind of faith.

The Shine Your Light campaign is in its fifth year, with high hopes of reaching a $1 million total for all the years combined.

One of the best things about the campaign is the faith the agencies that Shine Your Light benefits have in their clients. If they didn’t believe their efforts wouldn’t make a difference, they wouldn’t invest in them.

In Thursday’s story about The Salvation Army in Tyler, Kay Waddell talked about how she and her son came to the organization to live in the shelter after she lost her job. Now he attends the afterschool program as she works at her new job.

The Salvation Army has faith in Kay to get back on her feet.

In Friday’s story about The East Texas Food Bank, Ranada Balletta confessed that it’s hard to get food to stretch through the month, so the backpacks of food that her children receive from the organization keep her from drowning.

Mentors with People Attempting to Help (PATH) pour hours into children, believing that their time and care will have an impact and create a foundation in the children for a bright future.

Volunteers with the First Tee program teach children core values that will help them through the rest of their lives.

In Monday’s story on the Literacy Council of Tyler, the GED course instructor Rich Roper talked about how he refused to give up on his students whenever they wanted to quit. He believed in them and their abilities.

Study after study has shown that one of the greatest hindrances among people in poverty is a sense of shame. Their self-esteem is often dizzyingly low. Why try if it won’t do any good anyway?

But maybe someone else believing in you enough to invest in your life will help you believe in yourself.

That’s what so great about these agencies; instead of complaining that their clients are leeches will never amount to anything (which is what some people, unfortunately, do think about people in poverty), they believe that, with a little help, they can and will happily change their own lives. That empowering them will inspire them to reach for goals they may not have thought possible.

Let’s let the people who come to these agencies know that we think they’re worth the effort, too.

To donate to Shine Your Light, visit or to pay with a credit card or mail a check payable to “ETCF – Shine Your Light” to the East Texas Communities Foundation, 315 N. Broadway Ave., suite 210, Tyler, TX, 75702.