Features

Making a U-Turn

"Making a U-Turn" Continued...

Issue: "Unto the breach," July 22, 2006

Webster says he, too, was once a "knucklehead" and put himself through college selling marijuana. The other week one teen, when asked about his strengths during a Bible study, replied, "Putting food on the table." That means, says Webster, "he's hustling," dealing drugs or stealing things to support his family. But there are small victories as well. Recently the same youth who strutted onto the basketball court and demanded, "Gimme the [expletive] ball" also offered during Bible study to pray when the group heard a classmate's friend was in a car accident. (For the state-sponsored programs, the Bible studies are informal and for kids who want to remain after the state-sponsored program time ends.)

Last month U-Turn moved from a dingy old ex-warehouse, with plastic sports floors and uncertain lighting, across the street to a massive, newly renovated ex-warehouse with four brand new hardwood basketball courts, plus courts for volleyball and tennis, artificial turf for football, new weight room equipment, parents' lounge, snack bar, and other amenities. They're still deciding what to do with the thousands of undeveloped square feet upstairs, and working on a $5.6 million fund-raising campaign to help pay for it all. Given all the different opportunities the new building opens up, "I think now our challenge is to understand them," says Tom Chewning, chairman of U-Turn's board.

Carter, for his part, understands that he wouldn't have been an All-Conference player without his faith. Some people misunderstood his tattoo at first because they didn't look at it, he says, "but it's pretty self-explanatory: If you put Christ first and put your heart into Him, anything can be accomplished."

Les Sillars
Les Sillars

Les directs the journalism program at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va., and is the editor of WORLD's Mailbag section.

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