People’s Corner: Art Leslie
Founder/Director Huntsville Inner City Learning Center
Tell us about yourself
I’m the type of man who can focus on a task and stick with it until it is finished. I can block out all other distractions until the job is done. I’m all guy. I believe that my role is to protect and provide. To fix.
What motivates you to do what you do?
I was where these kids are that we’re serving. I was born in Binford Court and was a project kid. When I was a kid there were churches that would come to my community and say to us over and over, “You don’t have to be a product of your environment.” I didn’t understand it then, but I get it now. I’m where God wants me to be and I’m doing what He wants me to do. I don’t always want to be or do, but I’ve made up my mind that He knows best. If it were left up to me I’d be in Charlotte, playing with my grand kids. But God has me here. Doing what is very easy for me to be. This I can do. I can teach and I can reflect.
What is one verse that has been significant in your life and why?
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” One year I went to Outback America to serve, I was in a very challenging season. I thought I was there to help with parking and such until I heard the speaker say that God says, “you take care of my business and I’ll take care of yours.” I had never heard it spoken like that. I used to feel like I was in control. In athletics, school, vocation, I caused it to happen. All the failures were mine also. My life was really broken and I was really struggling. After trying to figure out what Matthew 6:33 really meant, I remember saying to God, “no more, I’m going to walk through every door you put in front of me. I’m going to let you lead, I’m going to follow. I won’t drive my own bus.” I’m going to seek Him first and ask the Lord to give me the strength and the faith to walk. To give me vision, the faith to open the doors and the strength to walk through them.
What is God speaking to you right now?
God has really been revealing to me how the moms of our students at the Learning Center are in need of the same spiritual foundation, social and moral lessons that the children are in need of. Mothers of our students observe their sons showing more respect towards women and they ask if we could offer classes for their significant others. God has been speaking the importance of education and of knowledge and a personal relationship with Him. God is putting all these things into place to have His will be done. “You continue to do what I have for you. I’ll use all my other children to do all that other stuff.” That’s what I hear God speaking to me right now. I’m starting to believe that The Huntsville Inner City Learning Center is here to serve adults and not just children from K-8th grade.
What is one of your most memorable God moments in our city?
One of my most memorable God moments in our city was watching God highlight which steps to take in acquiring the Learning Center property. He exceeded our every expectation. I am still in awe of His provision. He placed the right people in our path and His timing was impeccable. We are amazed and truly grateful for the way that He moved on our behalf and has allowed us to be a light in the Butler Terrace community.