In such a broken and disconnected community they had no idea how to connect with their neighbors, but they were confident in the power of relationships to change lives.
As Raegan tells it, she quickly realized all she had to do to connect with people was to be herself. One of her passions in life is caring for kids, and she is a natural ‘mama’ to all who know her. So she decided to spread out a picnic blanket on their big front lawn, and sit outside with some cookies and a smile. As kids walked by, Raegan would engage them by simply saying ‘hello’ and offering a homemade cookie, and she discovered a neighborhood full of kids who were hungry for relationships (and the cookies, of course).
As David tells it, he came home from work one day to find the house full of kids from the neighborhood – they were baking cookies in his kitchen, doing homework at the dining room table, playing games in the study, and playing basketball in the driveway, totally at home. Surprised and bewildered by what he encountered, he asked Raegan what in the world was going on. She told him about the picnic blanket, and the cookies, and how the natural progression had been to invite all the kids inside to further connect by hanging out, sitting around a table, and being part of a family.
This is how Restore Stockton started – with a picnic blanket on the front lawn, Mama Rae’s chocolate chip cookies, and a family’s heart to bring others into the warmth of their home. The Well is simply a bigger home for the neighbors to gather in. Through their experiences in these early years in Stockton, David and Raegan came to understand that the greatest need in the community was not only to have a safe place for youth to gather, but for there to be opportunities for these youth to connect with mentors who could lead, guide, and support them through life. As those same kids who first experienced the transformational power of meaningful relationships began to grow up, Restore grew with them and started vocational training and business mentoring programs to support them in their futures.
As an extension of David and Raegan’s home, The Well is still a safe place for youth in the community, and it is also a hub for mentoring and vocational training. The Well is, at its core, a place of social gathering and a place for those same youth to come in and connect, collaborate and create with others.
Join us at The Well to be a part of the change in Stockton. Bring your own picnic blanket. We’ll provide the cookies.