Taylor Tales

A lot has happened in the life of our eldest since last I wrote about him. At the end of April he tore up his teenager card and became a twenty-something. As in twenty, which technically means he really is twenty-something, but the “something” is a little misleading. I’m not sure which confounds me more: that the years have sped by like a bullet or that I’m actually old enough to have a 20-year-old. Oh I know I’m old enough. It’s not like I was a baby when I had him. It’s just that this makes me middle aged and I don’t feel like I’m middle aged. Sometimes I feel like I’m elderly in body, but in my mind I think I’m still, well, twenty-something. And, in fact, people around here (and by “people around here” I mean my family) frequently feel the need to remind me that I am the adult. To which I respond, “Pffft. Whatever.”

He also completed his sophomore year of college. Which means I now have a college junior. A twenty-year-old college junior. Sheesh! Again, where has the time gone?? It seems like just yesterday we were dropping him off at camp. And by “camp” I mean his freshman year of college.

During his senior year of high school he thought he might like to go into engineering and, in fact, chose Lynchburg College because of a 3/5 program they have with Old Dominion and their engineering department. Taylor, however, is not a linear thinker. He’s a creative thinker. Taylor’s brain doesn’t work in black and white mathematics and formulas and the like so I was pretty skeptical about his choice but I guessed (and prayed and hoped) he would either prove me wrong or figure it out. He figured it out during his first semester of college. He has since changed his major to Criminology which I believe he is much better suited to AND he seems to find it fascinating.

He came home from school on Mother’s Day and this morning he left for an internship in Washington, DC. And this is where everything gets confusing…

At school he has gotten involved with the Bonner Leader’s Program

Bonner Leaders programs are supported in approximately 50 colleges and universities in the nation by the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation.

At LC, Bonner Leaders spend 2 or 3 years in the program, working with community members on issues like educational opportunities, hunger and homelessness, environmental concerns, and youth development.

Bonner Leaders receive service scholarships and earn AmeriCorps Education Awards for their work in the community.

He thoroughly enjoys the community service work he does through Bonner. It’s also through Bonner he was able to get this internship. Bonner partners with Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty.

In 1997 Washington and Lee University established the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability, which integrates rigorous academic study and focused direct service to disadvantaged communities and persons, and supplements and enriches the education of undergraduate and law students in all majors and career paths. The intent of this program is to prepare students for lives aimed at diminishing poverty and enhancing human capability through professional and civic efforts.

A program of this kind has been absent from undergraduate education and largely absent from professional education, and it is one that should take its place alongside of other interdisciplinary programs. To this end, Washington and Lee is leading the effort to create a national movement to expand poverty and human capability studies at other colleges and universities through collaboration among member institutions. The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) is comprised of:

• Baylor University
• Berea College
• College of Wooster
• Elon University
• Furman University
• John Carroll University
• Lynchburg College
• Middlebury College
• Niagara University
• Spelman College
• University of Arkansas at Little Rock
• University of Notre Dame
• Virginia Military Institute
• Washington and Lee University

The Consortium’s joint activities include the Shepherd Alliance, a collaborative eight-week summer internship program with student conferences; an annual symposium on teaching poverty in undergraduate and professional education; promising practices meetings for faculty and staff of Consortium schools; a website for networking and disseminating information; a sophisticated assessment administered by the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia in order to improve Consortium schools’ policies and practices; and collaboration with the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

It is through Shepherd Alliance that Taylor will be working for OAR (Offender Aid and Restoration) this summer. I believe he’ll be doing reentry services, but I’m not positive. I’ll let you know when I find out!

It seems to me to be the perfect internship for him because it blends his passion and his major. Interestingly (and no small calling card for Taylor) the closing symposium will be in Little Rock. Makes me want to go.

Between Taylor’s internship, Katie’s teen conference and mission trip, Todd’s travel schedule and my work commitments, we couldn’t find a week this summer for vacation. Anywhere. So we’re going to meet up in DC for a weekend in July and call it a trip (praying now for a low humidity cold front to come through that weekend). Taylor will finish his internship, come home in August and then turn around and head back down to Lynchburg.

Before I know it, he’ll be back home after his junior year. And I’ll be even farther from twenty-something than I am now.


  1. Bev on June 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    If you think a junior is old I had two graduations on Mother’s Day-one with a BA in Sociology and one with Master’s in Physics. Yes on the same day, two different places. Since the Masters is going on to get a Phd we flew to see the BA. He will be going to Chicago in August to do his year of poverty- living amoung the poor helping high school low income and poverty level students find funding and such for college. In his program he has to live like they do-on one hundred dollars a month and without all the middle class trapping of his youth (his words-don’t you just “love” young innocent adults). If I never look in the mirror or at any photos-he, my second child and I are the same age. The oldest looks twelve so he doesn’t count in this aging of mine. Soon the mirrors will all have drapes at my house. Congrads on your wonderful children!

    • Jenster on June 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      I’m finding the age thing is all relative. lol

      That program your son is doing sounds very similar to what Taylor is doing – except Taylor’s is just for two months. The interns will be living in dormatories, but they’re only given so much per week to live on – food, transportation, etc. At the same time working as “professionals”. Not quite sure how that works. 🙂

      Super congrats back to you and your amazing kiddos!!

  2. nwhannas on June 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    You must be kinda hard to live with, what with those amazing kids of yours. Burst your buttons, much?! 🙂

    • Jenster on June 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      It’s like I always say, Gretchen. I only tell you what I want you to know. 🙂 Not only that, but the unrecognizable living room while he was home keeps me grounded.

  3. Michele McMillan on June 11, 2012 at 11:19 am

    congrats on having an upcoming college junior!! Sounds interesting what he’ll be doing this summer, but why does the term “community organizer” come to mind when I read all the stuff on “Bonner Leadership”? I’ll be praying for Taylor that his passion for the LORD stays first and foremost in his mind this summer and those community organizers, er, I mean, those Bonner Leadership people will be greatly influenced by Taylor’s faith! Wish you could come to Farmington this summer, dad keeps asking if you’re coming! Well, at least occasionally asking 😉

    • Jenster on June 12, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      Hmmm… Well, Taylor did help to organize a sock drive (and gloves and scarves, etc.) for the Lynchburg homeless this past winter… lol I think Bonner (at Lynchburg anyway) is comprised mostly of Taylor’s fellowship friends and the FCA kids so I think they’re all influencing each other. (or maybe that should be “sharpening” each other. 🙂

      I would love to come back to Farmington this summer, but I don’t see that happening. *sigh*

  4. Andrea Frazer on July 2, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I can’t believe I have a fourth grader and a third grader. Time flies. I bet you’ll have lots to write about. Wink win.

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