“Fern caught my attention from the first night I met her at SLAM. She was quiet, but she had this loving and gentle spirit about her and that’s what drew me to her,” SLAM mentor Lauren shares. Immediately following that first night at SLAM, Fern and Lauren began to build a deeper Life-on-Life relationship outside the walls of the program.
Outside The Program
Lauren knew that their relationship was growing when she asked Fern to hangout outside of SLAM and Fern’s response was, “Why wouldn’t I want to hangout with you? You’re cool!” However, as is the case with many of our youth, Fern has grown up in Chicago, but has rarely gotten out of her neighborhood to explore other parts of the city. Fern was excited when Lauren took her to the iconic Chicago landmark, Cloudgate (The Bean). On another occasion, Lauren even celebrated Fern’s birthday with her favorite deep dish pizza at Giordano’s.
Their relationship however, has gone further than just food and fun as they’ve shared about family, self-confidence, and other struggles. “My relationship with Lauren is strong because she’s always there when I need someone to talk to,” says Fern. In fact, one of the biggest struggles they’ve had to work through is Fern’s anger. At her birthday dinner, Fern shared that she really desires to be less angry. This opened the door for Lauren to encourage her with Scripture. “I was able to challenge her to be ‘slow to speak, slow to anger.’ Fern then started to share with me ways that she has started to talk to God. I’ve been really encouraged by her growth this year.”
Through these conversations, Lauren and Fern continue to grow closer. “I see Lauren as my best friend, and someone I can look up to. Without her in my life, I wouldn’t see Christ the way I do now,” Fern shares. While much of Lauren and Fern’s time together centers around meals and recapping the high school drama of the week, it’s the ever-present conversations about Jesus’ love that takes their Life-on-Life relationship deeper.