Monday, December 14, 2009


A student and tutor prepare for graduation: 2018

“Why are you doing this? I’m gonna be in so much trouble.”

Those are the words of a DinoMights high school student when confronted with the reality of a meeting between his school counselor, his parents and DinoMights staff/tutors. I thought, but didn’t say out loud (mainly because I wasn’t the one on the phone at the time), “You’re already in trouble. In fact, you need to get in trouble right now. What’s going to happen if you don’t get in trouble right now?”

He’s not doing well in school, but he is rather intelligent. Thus, it is easy for him to rationalize away the work and gain the trust of adults so that they believe it is really a minor problem. But, it’s not a minor problem.

Over the fifteen-year history of DinoMights, 85% of our participants have graduated from high school. That’s a big number compared to the 55% of Minneapolis Public School students that graduate according to the Minnesota Department of Education (2005). Now consider the lifetime economic realities for non-high school graduates. According to a recent Minneapolis Star Tribune Article, “Mixed reviews for state’s graduation rates”, by James Walsh (June 12, 2007) less than 10% of non-high school graduates earn more than $35,672 annually and most of those are concentrated in the lowest earning bracket with a median income of just $12,638. That is not a living wage for the 58% of African American and 36% of Asian students that do not graduate high school in Minnesota. Talk about trouble.

Here’s a quote regarding another teen from history with whom many of us are familiar, “Mary was greatly troubled by his words . . .” The quote comes from the Bible in the book of Luke. This is how the Christmas story starts . . . with trouble. Mary, the future mother of Jesus, is faced with the prospect of being an unwed teen mother in a culture where she could be disowned by her family or thrown down a well for being pregnant. Talk about trouble.

Let’s face it, many of us are in trouble right now. Someone reading this letter is out of a job, losing money on their home, or dipping into retirement funds to get by. We have a supporter who is having housing problems, a board member with health problems, and a volunteer who has had several adoptions fall through. Is it going to be like this forever? Is Christmas really for those of us in trouble?

The boy didn’t want to be in that meeting, but he had to be there. He had to hear that this trouble was for his benefit. He had to hear that this trouble was for the benefit of his family and friends as well. For if he is able to overcome this moment then he will be able to share his talents and gifts with the world. His dad said to him, “you may be upset now, but one day you will look back on this moment and thank God.”

The girl, Mary, too had to face this trouble, and she embraced it as the Lord’s servant. For the trouble of Christmas resulted in a Savior to the world. We all needed for her to have that trouble at just that time, because Christmas really is for those in trouble.

This Christmas season please help DinoMights to continue sharing both the lives of those in trouble as well as celebrating with so many who have overcome trouble. Please consider making a year-end gift to help DinoMights achieve its year-end goals. Although times are tough we still have hope that we can raise $20,000 this December. Gifts of all shapes and sizes are welcome to help this effort from the smallest to the largest. We are certain we can make this goal if in addition to the many generous gifts we receive, there are 4 givers able to make a gift of $2,500, 2 at $5,000, or 1 at $10,000 or more. You may give by using the widget on the right side of this blog or by visiting our online giving page on Finally, we are certain that troubled times won’t last forever, for the one who is Savior forever has overcome much trouble.

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