A Touch of Reality

By Luci Pestana

Last week, showings and inspections took a back seat to an even more deserving cause. The women of UDR put in some elbow grease as part of an ongoing project to support Reality Ministries, a community-based youth ministry organization in Downtown Durham.

The Reality Center is a large, 2-story building on the corner of Gregson and Lamond. Each of the spaces inside is meant to serve students in some specific capacity, and it’s an ambitious work in progress!  The center, providing a sense of community and fellowship to adolescents and teens from differing backgrounds and levels of ability, already provides a wide array of enrichment programs.  Staff and volunteers aim to mentor participants, offering after school programs as well as weekly events for those with special needs.  On weekday afternoons, middle and high-school students drop in to play basketball, join their friends in the game room, grab a snack and get to work in the study lounge, or even receive free tutoring and homework help. Classes are offered in art, photography, cooking, and SAT preparation, and students are encouraged to set career goals as they learn.  The center also holds events on DPS half-days, so students can grab a healthy meal and take advantage of their free time in a constructive environment.

Upstairs and down the hall, there’s a small room overlooking a quaint courtyard.  It’s through this space that UDR is fortunate to take part in Reality Ministries’ mission. We’ve chosen to sponsor the room, and made plans to create a library for students.  It is our hope that, once finished, the room will provide a calm, comfortable, and cozy space for students to read and reflect.

So far, so good!  The room badly needed a fresh coat of paint on the walls and moldings, and the new wash of color made all the difference.  The team, who took shifts prepping and painting the room, agreed that it was a process both rewarding and therapeutic!  We’re lucky to be surrounded by very generous people, and have had a number of bookshelves donated.  They’ll be painted and put to good use, housing a myriad of books piled high in the middle of the room.  Of course when all that’s in place, we’ll feel compelled to accessorize with a few final touches.  Stay tuned for the big “reveal” when the library is complete!

All of us at UDR are honored to be participating in this inspired and effective program for the youth of Durham.  Thank you very much to Jeff McSwain and Steve Larson for making us feel so at home, and for giving us this great opportunity.

If you’d like more information on the Reality Center, or you’re interested in volunteering with Reality Ministries, please visit http://realityministriesinc.org… and tell them UDR sent you!

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