It was late at night when a bible college student was walking a little boy home after playing basketball in the college's gym. The former was deep in thought. He was running out of money and he was flunking in collage. He was wondering what he was going to do in his life, asking God what his purpose was and why he was here. In his heart, he was just crying out to God, looking up in the sky. At that moment, the little boy did something he had never done before - the little boy grabbed his hand. And it all became clear. That night, the vision for City Kidz was birthed.
Todd Bender was that student and the little boy was Shawn. Shawn was a seven year old boy who frequented a teen drop in center in the heart of the city. Todd and Shawn started playing together at the centre and walked him home at the end of each day. Shawn's parents just don't seem to notice him. Due to the relationship Todd had built up with Shawn over the past few months, Shawn felt for the first time that there was someone how cares and loves him.
That night, when Shawn grabbed his hand, Todd realised what his purpose was. More than anything else in his life, Todd knew why he was created in that moment. He knew that there were kids like Shawn all around the country, crying out to God for love, and he need to look for them and give them the message: God loves them and had created each and every one of them with a purpose.
Todd started City Kidz in Hamilton, ON, about 20 years ago and he has seen the lives of these children changed. It is very important to him that a real relationship is built with every child. It's all about going into the homes and love people, (kids in particular), truly caring and building relationships with each and every one of them, letting them know that God loves them and they have a purpose.
We can all love a little bit more today than we did yesterday. Is there someone that you know who needs a friend today? Perhaps you can be that friend and let God's love work through you. Let's all love a little more and give a little more in the days to come.
God, I pledge with all my might,
To always try to do what's right.
To be honest, to be true,
To be fair in all I do.
To not just take but truly give,
This is how I choose to live.
- City Kidz Pledge