Once you meet Tavian you probably won’t forget him. His polite deminor is only part of his charm, and his sense of humor will likely lead him into some sort of memorable exchange that will leave you with a smile. If not, his smile will leave you no choice but to smile. And then you’ve only just met Tav!

He has been one of the students that has been involved with HFO since we began our work in the city.

Tavian has one younger sister and they live with their mom. His mom is a hard worker and has been employed as long as we have know the family, but still struggles to make ends meet.

In the time we have know Tavian he has faced some very difficult obstacles. His family has been evicted from their home twice and his mother’s fiancé has been arrested and is still in jail. They have moved several times and currently live with his grandparents.

Tavian like many of our students was desperately behind in some of his foundational educational skills. Tavian could rattle off his multiplication facts faster than anyone, but was so ashamed of his poor reading that he wouldn’t read infront of his peers. It was no surprise when he failed reading in the 6th grade. Over the course of summer school we had the opportunity to work with Tav one on one, and he improved drastically.

This year has been a turning point for Tav. He is beginning to take ownership for his education and is realizing his own potential. The last six weeks of his 7th grade year, Tav managed to earn a 3.33 GPA. This milestone has empowered Tav to know what he is capable of and inspired him to set some big goals for next school year.

During a session with some of our ministry leaders, I began to press Tav, I asked, “Why do you come to HFO?” He said a couple of cheap answers like, “because ya’ll help me with my homework.” I told him, “Tavian, you hate homework! Why do you come”

Then after a moment of silence and with a giant tear running down his face he said, “Because ya’ll love me.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the room after his staggering confession. That moment brought clarity for me about how important these relationships. We could have never helped Tav learn to read if we hadn’t gotten to his heart first.

Tavian understands the importance of the work we do better than anyone. The other day he asked how long we were going to be doing HFO? I said, “Hopefully for 30 years, or as long as God would allow us to do it. Why?” Then Tav said, “Good because I want my kids to be able to come.”

I’ve shared much about Tav, but I could never put into words how much he has enriched my life. I would say we are even as far as who has had the most impact on one another,and those aren’t just words. He is a dear friend and will be for the rest of my life!