Text by Valkyrie Reed, Senior, Trinity High School

When I stepped out of my Uber and walked into the school where I had volunteered to report on Night of Hope, I wasn't sure what to expect or do. I was nervously rushing around trying to find Steven Jones, the 6 Stones reporter I volunteered for. The greeters around me smiled and helped me as best as they could to help me search for him. I was soon led to the cafeteria where a man was instructing families to get some water as they entered. He pointed me back to the way I came, and soon I ran across a man with a camera. The man I was expected to meet.

Volunteers and sponsors teamed up to provide a snack for the children. (Photo by Steven A Jones, 6 Stones)

He handed me a voice recorder and gave me a mission: to receive quotes from the guests and volunteers at Night of Hope. I sat down for my first interview with a mother and her daughters. I felt scared at first, but the family was kind and outgoing. The mother’s words spoke volumes to me about how the night we were sharing always made their Christmas special. I soon realized that I was a part of a diverse, accepting community.

When the time came to move on, I shuffled away to meet other families. Each one had a unique and touching story about why they participate in Night of Hope. Every story sounded similar to my own. It felt warm and amazing to relate to so many people.

The Bright Side of Religion

Then, Foundation Baptist Church’s pastor, Casey Lewis, started to speak. I wasn't as excited to hear a sermon as the rest of the room seemed to be. Rejection from a few churches in the past had made me give up religion, but seeing a community actively participating in the sermon full of powerful words gave me hope. The sermon showed me the bright side of religion I had been blind to for years.

Families gather to hear a presentation during Night of Hope. (Photo by Steven A Jones, 6 Stones)

When the message ended, I snuck outside to interview volunteers. I met two members of the 6 Stones staff, a door greeters, and even someone dressed as The Grinch! Every one of the volunteers I interviewed had one goal: to make this Christmas memorable for every child. One of the most inspirational volunteers I met that night was Lindsie Cline. “The Grinch.” She hugged and took pictures with families while, who seemed to love her disguise. Her years of experience and the way she made children’s faces light up touched me.

With the party winding down, I set out to find a ride home. As families streamed out of the school beside me, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was part of that family now. The community’s kindness and acceptance captured my heart during that party. I had never been part of a community before, but now I felt like I had been a part of this huge family for years.

It just took a while to find my place.

Valkyrie interviews a family during her first ever Night of Hope. (Photo by Steven A Jones, 6 Stones)

This editorial is the part of a series of contributions from student journalists within the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District. These students work directly with 6 Stones staff to conceive of, research, and craft the posts that are credited to them in order to develop their skills as writers, photographers, and future storytellers. The work credited to them on this site is their own, edited and revised with the help of 6 Stones Storyteller Steven A Jones.


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