Why Awake Matters to Me – Lisa Polderman

I learned about Unity the winter of 2013 from Julie Freeney as we waited for Owen and Cora to come out of their kindergarten classroom. Soon after I started attending, Pastor Julie asked me if I was interested in joining a committee looking to create opportunities for community, education, and coffee in Berwyn. I was so relieved that she hadn’t asked me to teach Sunday School, I immediately said yes.

During the process of creating Awake my girls were baptized at Unity. My favorite part of the ritual of baptism was hearing, “Let your Light shine, Cora and Maisey, let your Light shine.” Pastor Julie declared it as she poured the water over their heads, a chorus of Unity children echoed it, and the congregation welcomed them with those words. It clearly meant something to Cora and Maisey, too, because for the next few nights they baptized each other in the tub, repeating those words.

There are many ways in which Awake matters to me, but the most important is that it has allowed me to see Light in the people of our community. People like Raul and Yessica, Jorge and Wendy. They all had children in our summer reading program and their love and commitment to their own children has them working hard on our parent team to create an After School Program for the children of our community. People like Jim, Mona, Tanya, and Gino, whose gratitude brought them out to make jam as a way of celebrating community. People like Carlos, Michelle, Alejandra, Michael, and Lupe, student leaders who bring energy and excitement to the Dance Marathon team. And people like Sorcha, Maddie, Jimena, and Ashley, kids in my hand sewing class, who brought focus and pride and determination to every stitch.

Awake has also allowed me to see new Light in the members of Unity. Through our work, I’ve seen Elizabeth gift for connecting with middle school students, Rachel’s fierceness in leading 2nd graders, Anne’s charisma and humor, Holly’s language and organizational skills, and Sarah’s practical mindset in getting things done.

Awake has given these Lights an opportunity to shine, and it has given me the gifts of Hope and Joy and Love. Thank you for giving this program a home.