Who will stop to help?

Above: “There are countless rewarding moments at the STAR House. But my favorite days are when my son Jordan is able to join me in helping out the kids.” —Joe Duffy

By Joe Duffy

“I imagine that the first question the priest and Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But by the very nature of his concern, the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”

“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address delivered at Mason Temple in Memphis on April 3, 1968.

I’m proudly into year three as a volunteer and evangelist for STAR House. Located in Roswell, we are a non-profit organization that assists and tutors at-risk children with schoolwork. “Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed” is the motto of the STAR House. There is no dispute that success begins in the classroom.

I gild the lily not in the least when I say the hardest I’ve ever laughed at the STAR House was at the first words any child said to me, other than introducing ourselves. “You look like a white guy,” she declared. That works out well, because most of my life I’ve identified as one. I had no response, but I did guffaw. She then observed, “Did you know when you laugh your entire head turns red?”

The STAR House kids are like kids everywhere. They have that universal gaze of longing to learn. I’ve observed it in their eyes and in their faces.

Last year, upon telling me she was going to retire after 16 years as Site Director, Ms. Noura (Noura Abdi-Tabari) asked me if I planned on volunteering the next year. “Definitely,” I said, in expressing my desire to continue to support the students. In a somber tone, she responded, “Good, because I worry about these kids.”

I do too. Among the reasons is because not enough people are concerned about them. I believe they should be. We could use a lot more people to become one of the thousand points of light. Volunteer, donate, help at STAR House.

There are countless times when I have to peel myself away from trying to squeeze out every last dollar of revenue at work. There is sacrifice involved. I hope the great MLK would not object if I paraphrased him to reflect on how his quote (at right) resonates with me concerning STAR House. Instead of asking, if I stop to help these children, what will happen to me? I’d rather reverse the question. If nobody stops to help these children, what will happen to them? ❍

About STAR House

“STAR House provides after-school mentoring and summer camp for at-risk children throughout North Fulton County. Our mission is to promote academic success and empower lifelong achievement for children in need. We currently serve over 300 children within four Title 1 North Fulton schools, with a growing unmet need,” says Executive Director Stephanie Christiansen.

After-school volunteers read and listen to a child read, help students review for tests, teach good study habits, check homework for accuracy, tutor a child in a favorite subject, or assist with special school projects.
STAR House will match you with the program that best meets your expertise, interest, and availability. In addition to staff, dedicated volunteers enable STAR House to reach each student in a more meaningful way, encouraging their academic potential.

You can stop to help. To learn more, visit STAR House or call 678-384-4550.