My journey with Desire Street Ministries has led me step-by-step to deeper involvement and love for its mission and people. Initially we donated to DSM based on our admiration of Danny Wuerffel as a Gator Great on and off the football field. We learned more through newsletters and met several of the DSM students and staff and heard their stories at an event. Later we accepted an opportunity to visit the original Desire Street facility in New Orleans and saw first-hand the transformation of families and neighborhoods. Chaperoning a trip with DSM students, we were thrilled by their cheers as the plane took off for their first flight experience. Eventually we became so committed to DSM that we gladly became a part of the Board and still take every possible opportunity to join in its mission.
Through this journey I began to understand more about the disadvantages and hopelessness of many people living in these neighborhoods. I saw that their talent and motivation could wither and be lost without nurture and opportunity. I came to appreciate the advantages I undeservedly received through my parents’ provisions, encouragement, and experience to lead me to success in school and society. I looked back and realized how much I needed them to sometimes push me to do homework instead of play, remember to say “please” and “thank you”, and pay for and transport me to activities. Their discipline and dedication to take the harder path to achievements and gently guide me in understanding life skills continue to serve me today. The DSM urban ministry partners often fill this crucial gap for children in their inner-city programs.
I greatly admire the dedication of the leaders who have made sacrifices to answer this calling to serve in impoverished urban areas. I do not have the gifts and background to personally connect in these communities and serve in this capacity. However, I do connect with these leaders and can encourage them in their mission. I am driven by the role that DSM fills to ensure that these leaders have the support they need to thrive rather than the typical burnout in these stressful situations. I am grateful that my journey led me to love the families in these difficult environments and to be able to take action through DSM to lift up those who are serving them. I encourage you to explore the impact of these ministries and to engage however you feel called – the blessing will grip your heart!
Dr. Elizabeth Gadsby
DSM Board Member