When we were introduced to Kaylin in 2016 by the staff of Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM) CEO/President, Randy Odom we knew immediately that this young lady was special. As a young 18 year old woman, Kaylin has grown up in a North Memphis community in a family that has often lacked the basic of needs--consistent housing, electricity, a bed to sleep on and reliable transportation. In the midst of it all she has maintained a beautiful, joyful spirit which has endured in the midst of some very dark periods including sleeping on the floor for the last few years of her life, until just recently.
Accustomed to walking or taking the bus anywhere she needed to go, Kaylin was growing weary and tired. Around the age of 8 Kaylin was introduced to Memphis Athletic Ministries for the first time. She has been faithful in her attendance ever since and, in turn, MAM has provided a wholesome, safe haven for her to go and escape the chaos around her.
Kaylin’s community was full of people, in her words, that ‘could care less’ about her and her goals and dreams. But the time spent at MAM quickly provided her a ‘home’ that provided more than the basic needs she lacked—it provided hope for her to pursue her dreams.
Her new community at MAM was full of people who encouraged her to be herself and told her things that she had never heard before—things like, ‘You are loved’, and ‘You are special.’ And the person who modeled that for Kaylin was Coach Sarah-her mentor. Sarah and others have shown her that she doesn’t have to walk alone anymore—especially in the midst of life’s struggles.
Kaylin’s fears and struggles are generational and have conditioned her to stay guarded but through grace and her relationship with her mentor, Sarah, Kaylin has been shown ‘love through a different lens.’
Through it all, Kaylin’s personal faith has remained strong. She credits God’s hand in everything in her life. She sees herself as a vessel that God puts oxygen in to use her in service to others. In her words, ‘Serving people gives me joy.’
Spending time with Kaylin has enriched our lives as we have been witness to her encouraging others to keep pushing through towards their goals and dreams. And Kaylin has goals and dreams, too.
Her dreams include attending college at the University of Memphis where she has been accepted—where she aspires to be an example to her younger sisters, in particular. Always joyful, encouraging and serving others, Kaylin truly is a ray of sunshine right here in her own community of Memphis, TN.