I have a beautiful story of generational impact to share with you about a mother and her daughter. Clarice Weiler is a single mom of three children, all with diagnosed learning disabilities. Her oldest daughter, Lynajsha, struggles with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD, and undiagnosed mental disorders. From the time she was young, Lynajsha was often labeled a “problem kid.” Clarice shared honestly with us, “For a while when things were really hard, I felt abandoned by God. Like He left me to fend for myself.”
As a new mom, Clarice looked for support in the community. “I was looking online for places who help with Christmas presents, and I found City Impact’s Gifts of Love. It was amazing,” says Clarice. Like so many families, this was the beginning of their City Impact story.
A few years later, the Weiler kids got connected with Impact Reading Center tutors at McPhee Elementary, working one-on-one every week to build essential literacy skills. At the time, Clarice wasn’t even aware that IRC was part of City Impact!
When we moved into our new building on 33rd St., Clarice began bringing her children to CI Kids. In the hardship of life, her own faith was wavering, but Clarice had seen something in City Impact that she trusted. She wanted her children to learn about Jesus here. The community and support they found at City Impact was a turning point for the whole family.
If you ask Clarice, the biggest transformation she’s seen is in her daughter. A few weeks ago, with Lynajsha by her side, Clarice shared her story in front of 300 people at our fall fundraising event. She pushed through nerves and smiled through tears as she talked about her daughter’s transformation.
“So often people want to write her off, thinking she’s too much trouble to deal with. But at City Impact, Lynajsha has a home. She has friends, teachers, and leaders who are patient and take the time to get to know her.
At City Impact, Lynajsha is not defined by her disorders, she is defined as a beloved daughter of God, an image bearer, and now a leader.
This summer, Lynajsha was old enough to go to Kids Across America camp in Missouri – a Christian sports camp. KAA was inspiring and transformative for Lynajsha. She’s never been away from home for an entire week by herself, but she settled in quickly and had an amazing time. Her time at camp empowered Lynajsha to be bold and step into leadership and deepened her faith.
This fall, as a 6th grader, my daughter became a CI Youth Leader in the 1st-grade classroom on Tuesday nights. I am so proud of her. To see how excited she is to come and serve and how she connects with the children. Lynajsha is seeing herself as a leader! And a few weeks ago, Lynajsha made a decision for Jesus. She made a choice to give her life to Him. Her choice. She is owning her own faith. What more could I ask for as a mother?”
Now on Tuesday evenings, Clarice fellowships with a group of City Impact moms. They study the bible together and lift one another up. Just down the hall, Lynajsha serves as a leader and her younger brothers attend CI Kids. There will certainly be more challenges to face, but growing in Jesus’ love at City Impact will equip their family for what’s to come.
“In returning to my faith, I’ve realized that He never left me. Watching my children grow and mature at City Impact showed me God’s faithfulness. My family has seen so many blessings in the last few years, and I give God all of the credit,” says Clarice.
What a blessing to see gospel-driven transformation in both mother and daughter!
Building leaders who redeem cycles of trauma and addiction is a long-term mission. City Impact has been committed to this work for over 22 years, walking with generations like Clarice and Lynajsha.
Thank you for your commitment to moms like Clarice and young leaders like Lynajsha! Thank you for seeing under-resourced youth as Jesus sees them, as worthy and beloved.