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Sham Brahne, a 7th grader from Forest Meadow Junior High, was the student speaker at the annual Evening of Change on May 4, 2017 held at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Sham practiced her speech before hand with her mother, and went on to tell the crowd of nearly 300 how the YBC afterschool program helped her to become a leader, and she now tutors younger students who attend.

An Evening of Change Celebrates 22 Years of Success and Thousands of School Children Served

Twenty-two years ago, Vincent Gaddis began a reading program for public school children by bringing a pizza and some books to a local park to read to the kids playing there.

A packed annual “Evening of Change” dinner on Thursday, May 4, featuring a student speaker and Dallas District Attorney Faith Johnson, brought supporters and their friends up to date on the ministry, Youth Believing in Change, now located on Stults Road in Lake Highlands.

Vince Gaddis and his wife, Angela, are still working to make sure the students in nine DISD and RISD schools have a safe place to go after school during the dangerous hours of 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m., when unsupervised children often get into trouble.

The evening began with the Booker T. Washington Jazz Ensemble featuring Makariah Gaddis, a senior at the school and daughter of Vince and Angela, followed by songs sung by the 70-member Children’s Choir led by Angela Gaddis.

Thirteen-year-old Sham Brhane, a 7th grader at Forest Meadow Junior High, was the night’s student speaker. She captivated the 300-member audience from the moment she introduced herself. “I was born here in Dallas, but my parents are from Eritrea which is close to Ethiopia. I’m a native Dallasite. That means I love the Dallas Cowboys, In ‘n Out Burgers and the Galleria!”

She went on to explain, “I first came to YBC when I was just three years old. My mom knew Pastor Gaddis and my brother was already coming here. So, I’ve been coming for ten years. What I like about YBC is that when I come I know I am going to learn something and not waste my time. I go home in a good mood, knowing that my homework is finished, my tummy is full and my heart feels happy.”

Brahne finished her short speech with her current leadership role at YBC: “Now I’m one of the older kids. Now I have the responsibility to tutor the younger kids, pre-K and Kindergarten, so that their homework is done, their tummies are full, and they go home with a happy heart.”

Long-time volunteer Vick Clesi and his wife Janet were honored by Pastor Gaddis for their years of support of the Ministry.

Former University of Dallas President and Catholic Diocese of Dallas Monsignor Milam Joseph, a childhood friend who followed Clesi to Notre Dame, spoke about their friendship over seven decades, noting that they met when they were little and have kept in touch now that both men are turning 80. Brahne presented the monsignor with a gift basket at the end of the evening, and she received a hug and words of encouragement from the champion of education.

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson spoke of her years growing up as the youngest of 13 children, and how her strong faith helped her throughout her life and in her current very busy, often difficult, high-profile position.

Brahne’s classmate and friend at YBC, 13-year-old Ethan McNeal, invited those present to join the children of YBC for a Spring Flower Planting event on Saturday. Monsignor Milam Joseph ended the evening as it began, with a word of Prayer.

 

YBC has a summer program and needs tutors. Youth Believing in Change is located at 8574 Stults Road, Dallas, Texas 75243. See ybc@ybcdallas.org or its Facebook page: Ybc Dallas, or call 214-692-9242 

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