She knows, though, what hope looks like. To this 8th grader, hope looks like Ms. Keturah. “My team leader, Ms. Keturah is like a mom figure. She’s relaxed, she stays calm, and she goes out of her way.” Literally. During COVID, Ms. Keturah saw that Lyla was having a hard time with online school. So she regularly checked in on Lyla’s progress and offered support. To help motivate Lyla and the other eighth-grade girls in her group to push forward on their homework and grades, Ms. Keturah set up games and challenges with rewards. She would then hand deliver the prizes to the girls’ homes. Lyla lived much further away than the other girls. But the distance didn’t stop Ms. Keturah. She was happy to go out of her way to spread love and hope. Lyla said, “I was a 30-minute drive for her. But she still came to me. She brought me snacks and treats. Just to make me feel loved. She was genuine because her actions matched her words. It made me feel really good.”

And that relationship has made space for other important truths to become reality. “The people at By The Hand showed me more about who God is.” Lyla explained it beautifully, “Before, I knew about God. But now, I know God.” Lyla has experienced real hope and plans to hold onto it!