Who Run the World? Teens!

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I never intended to become a teen mentor. I was studying the law of attraction because I was failing at my goal to work in scripted TV. I wanted to stop failing. I didn’t want to volunteer with a group of surly teenagers. But Michele Roberts talked me into it. She told me that I would make a great mentor and the teens already liked me.

At that point, I hadn’t paid any attention the teens. I saw the adults of my spiritual center fawn all over them, especially the teens that were the offspring of a leader in the spiritual community. Nora and Will, the senior minister’s children received the most attention. They didn’t need my attention too. They had enough love and support in their lives.

So I ignored them. But they didn’t ignore me. Especially Nora. When I launched a young adult ministry, Nora volunteered her Friday nights to plan my services, write music, and perform. She inspired me. A lot of the other teens did too. Whenever a parent visited the Global Truth Center (GTC) and dropped their surly teen off in teen group, these kids welcomed them in. And not in a weird, cult-y kind of way. It’s authentically genuine and warm.

This FREAKS the new kids out. They’ve never seen a group of teens welcome them with loving and gentle respect. At first, the new kids are quiet and withdrawn. But eventually, they open up a little bit. But then they go to teen camp…and return as a guru. I would see this happen and wonder, what the hell are they doing at this camp? 

After a few years, I understood how this camp was so effective. It embeds these kids into a 4-7 day experience that they usually receive an hour a week. I’ve now been a teen mentor for four years and am going to teen camp for the first time. It feels bittersweet because 19-year-old Nora was killed in a car accident this week. My heart breaks for her family and so many who are shaken by her passing.

But I also find myself inspired by the impact Nora had on the world. So many people have reached out to me with their condolences because of the impact Nora had on their lives. Some people had only met Nora once, but their one memory of her had a significant on them. People didn’t love her just because she was the senior minister’s daughter. They loved her because she inspired them.

The entire Mellon-Bailey family inspires everyone they come in contact with to love only, forgive everything and remember that they are a divine expression of God. Though we all fail at it miserably, many of us make the effort because this family has served as a living example.

Though Nora died on Thursday, the entire family was at the GTC on Sunday morning. Nora’s twin brother, Will, delivered an inspiring message AND performed a song with Nora’s best friend, Del. Nora’s father, Kevin Bailey, tearfully thanked the community for their love and support. Dr. James delivered the Sunday message about his unshakeable faith in God.

I am so grateful for the impact that this family has had on my life, and how these teens have inspired me to volunteer at camp. Like Nora, Jade Delgado and Gabe Mazarei are teen boys who have wholeheartedly supported my Spirit Uncensored ministry. Both are excited to attend Winter Camp with me as their advisor this year, but could use help with their fundraising efforts.

I feel schmaltzy soliciting donations in the same message where I share my grief about teen girl gone too soon. But at the same time, I’m proud to do whatever I can to bring awareness to support these teens who are making such a positive impact on the world. Nora’s passing has been far more prevalent on my Facebook feed than former president George H.W. Bush’s death. And the December 18th deadline to register for winter teen camp is quickly approaching.

For obvious reasons, adults and teens in our spiritual communities have been focused on their grief and teen camp fundraising has come to a halt. If you feel called, I invite you to invest in the Spirit Uncensored and GTC teens and make a donation to help send them to camp.

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