Ryan’s Reflection

The Road Episcopal Service Corps began in 2011 as a conversation with a diverse and energetic group of people about building a dynamic young adult formation and leadership program in the Diocese of Atlanta. Youth on the Move started in 2003 to provide middle and high school students with opportunities that will prepare them for success as adults. In 2016, Emmaus House had the privilege of taking on and offering leadership to these two programs. We are very excited about the ways in which these two programs enrich our work at Emmaus House.

Ryan Bigg is a second-year fellow of The Road and works with Youth on the Move. He offers his reflections here.

“Hi, my name is Ryan Bigg. A lot of you might know me or have seen me around at Emmaus House the last year and a half or so. I am a second-year fellow for The Road Episcopal Service Corps and have spent both of those years on site at Emmaus House.

During this time, I have been a catch-all resource for Emmaus House. I have worked at the Lokey Center, the Chapel, Freedom Schools® summer program and the Parent Power literacy program. More recently, my focus has been with the Youth on the Move after school program, which is the newest Emmaus House program.

One of the reasons I am such a catch-all resource and always seem to be around is that The Road Episcopal Service Corp is now a program of Emmaus House, which hosts, offers staff support for and provides housing to the ten fellows who take part each year.

So, I live and work full time here on the campus. By design, the fellows live in community with Peoplestown neighbors. I am an example of how well this can work. I have loved living here, working here and being among the people of Peoplestown.

This experience has been life-altering because it has changed my perspective on how the world works. The relationships I have built here are more fruitful than those I have previously experienced. I think this speaks to the value of the community of Peoplestown. Even though there are not as many resources in this area, the richness of joy and love that I feel here outdoes that of any other place I have experienced.

These characteristics have been clear to me recently in my work with the Youth on the Move program. The goals of Youth on the Move are to educate, enrich and empower middle and high school students in the Peoplestown area through various activities and experiences. In my time being with these students, I have seen growth in each of them, and I have enjoyed the richness of life with them.

One of the activities that we offer is college/career workshops that show the youth some of the possibilities that are available after high school. A few months ago, my mom and sister, both nurses at Emory, held a workshop about being a nurse.

The workshop was very successful. They created four different interactive stations to show the students different aspects of nursing. At the Look and Listen station, they took each other’s blood pressure and listened to heartbeats with a stethoscope. At the Hand Hygiene station, they learned how to put on sterile gloves. They practiced putting bandages on each other at the First-Aid station. Finally, at the Healthy Habits station, they discussed how essential daily exercise and eating healthy are for our bodies. The program concluded with a Having Fun exercise where my mom showed them a favorite dance of hers. In turn, they taught her a favorite dance of theirs. That was the highlight of the day!

This work at Emmaus House has been crucial for my personal development and growth. Instead of trying to describe how it changed my life, I want to encourage everyone to find a way to get involved. Being able to bring my family into the Youth on the Move programs and intersect my two worlds for a moment brought so much life into the space. I would love to see more of that around here. After all, that is what Emmaus House and The Road is about – meeting someone on a path, intersecting and interacting with them and having your life and theirs be different afterwards.”