I have worked in a school named “Tulsa Hope Academy”. It is an alternative Christian school for “at risk youth”. It has been my privilege and a challenge to work in a place like this.  Here I was introduced to the director of this school Debra  (Debbie), an amazing lady with a burning passion and zeal to bring change in the lives of the ‘at risk youth’ students who come here.

As I was working as a teacher, I got to see Debbie’s life personally.  I could see her dedication and commitment to these students who get a second chance at Tulsa hope Academy (THA) to mold their career and life. For some of them it was their last chance to prove themselves and graduate from high school. The students who come there have been through a lot of life’s struggles and have faced many vivid challenges than a regular teenager. And that is one of the reasons they are at THA.

Gradually as time went by, I came to know Debbie intimately and how she embarked on this journey of starting a school like this. A few years ago, she wanted to help his son and two of his friends who had dropped out of high school.  These were wonderful kids who were struggling in a regular public school. They had to cope with their studies along with the emotional and social wounds of their life. Debbie had a special gift from God to recognize the hurt and insecurities of these youth. She understood them and their struggles.  She started teaching and counseling them right in her home. She worked hard with them and “home schooled” them. And as a result of  her hard work and her nurturing heart, they could earn the credits they needed for the high school diploma. She helped them to graduate from high school. This was a radical change in those young lives who were getting ready to face the real world with already having a lot of life’s issues.

This was not the end but a beginning of a new chapter in which many more troubled teenagers were involved. She already had made a huge difference in few lives but she was on the mission to rescue more lives. She had a vision from God and He started leading her step by step in faith to reach more kids who have trouble keeping up in the regular schools.

She leads the school by her life and example. Integrity, compassion and hard work are the motto and mission of her life. And due to all her efforts and God’s Grace, the school is now a fully accredited faith based school in Oklahoma, the first of its kind. It has an awesome staff – people whom God brought along side her to carry the burden she has for these kids. The school now has a full staff to teach the core subjects required and 25 high school students attend it on a regular basis to study.

For me personally it has been an incredible experience to work along with her. To see God’s purpose being fulfilled by her and the staff who work at THA. We see the young lives touched, their burdens shared and their pain being healed. There is a lot of caring, nurturing and love which are the pillars of THA. It has been a reminder to me that if God gives you a dream he will also provide you with resources to fulfill it. Our lives become more worth living when you can impact other lives and that is the purpose of Tulsa Hope Academy.

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