Every month, when I turn over a new page on the calendar, I'm excited at the prospect of a whole month still unfilled with obligations. Until all those squares on the calendar get filled with dental appointments, meetings and school activities, the month is a clean slate of promise and possibility. This morning, that feeling is doubled: a brand new calendar, and a year's worth of days in which anything could happen.
As I've reflected on the year just ended and the year just beginning, I decided to check in with some of the people I've talked and written about in columns over these past 12 months to see what they are hoping for in the new year.
Just recently I wrote about Michael Driggers, a high school senior and child-abuse survivor who provided Christmas gifts and a party for children at a local orphanage. His hope for the future is that child abuse would go away because, "no child deserves all that harm."
Another student I wrote about was Cory Huneycutt. He was the Mount Pleasant High School student who won first place in the International Skills Competition at the World of Masonry convention in Las Vegas. Cory is enjoying his winter break from Western Carolina University, where he is studying construction management. His hopes for the new year are pretty practical: to continue his streak of all As in his college classes and to find a good internship for the summer.
Faye McRorie and Harry Lassiter are two people with whom I'm always happy to chat because each is so focused on improving our little part of the world. Lassiter leads the Mount Pleasant Food Ministry, and McRorie provides free after-school care to elementary-aged latch-key children.
Lassiter says that he hopes for continued success for the food ministry. The week before Christmas, they served more families than ever before. As the demand has continued to rise, Lassiter is thankful that volunteers and donors have stepped up to help meet the need. He says that the more he deals with the people here in eastern Cabarrus County, the more he is reminded that this is a wonderful place to live.
McRorie is also looking to the community to support her ministry. Her special hope is that someone would provide her students with a computer lab. Her students' families can't afford food, let alone Internet access, and the need for even her young students to work with computers is great. She's also hoping for more financial support and is resolved to identify more children who need her and her program. As she says, children are worth the investment.
Looking back and forward reminds me of the best part of this job: getting to know the wonderful people in eastern Cabarrus County and hearing their stories. I've got a year's worth of Sundays ahead to tell more of them, and I hope you'll keep sharing them with me.