“My drive is to inspire. My passion is to make a difference.”
Where does that difference start? In the very core of a young mind.
So many things are happening in the world around us today. Many of us engage in things that may not be in the best nature of our future communities, but why? Is it because there is a shortage of people making a difference within the youth communities?
I Mentor youth ages thirteen to twenty-one, and They all come with stifled minds. Life is rough. Hard. It’s not an easy feat. Everything we go through, and experience is shaping us for something greater. I suppose the real determination isn’t WHAT we go through that makes us who we are, but rather how well we rise after we go through it.
I stood before my new class yesterday, speaking about the theme for their poetry slam. At first, a lot of them really weren’t taking it seriously. The theme is “What I see, and what I can change.” It is the underlining theme throughout our community, and schools that our writing community is pushing. Why is this important?
Everywhere we look we see
A world crumbling at our feet.
Disaster growing ever bold
Dangers in our communities.
Bullying has become a norm
Homicide is growing strong
When is it that we choose to change?
A better life, and newer ways
These students like many others didn’t take it seriously. Until, I did what I do best. I stood there strong and unafraid spoke my words with much grace. I grabbed on to their every thought. Enticed their minds to gather more.
“I want to see you all taking this seriously. How many of you have had to overcome something.”
A show of hands lifted. OK and how did that make you feel? What was it like to go through it? How does it define who you are today?
They started to think.
“Guys I come in here on my time, to spend it with you. This matters to me. Let me tell you why”
Fifteen years ago I was a student just like you siting in a high school class with adults telling us, “You are the future of this community.” Fifteen years later here I am, in front of you doing the same thing. Why do you think that is?
I heard answers like “Because you care.”
How many of you want to make a difference? Another show of hands came up.
Tell me, what is the first step to making a difference?
As I went on through my speech the kids became more intrigued. By the end many said things like;
“You’re so inspirational.”
“You should write a book.”
“Have you written a book?”
I read some of my poetry involving “What I see, and what I can change?”
My greatest talent is reaching out to youth. As one of my college instructors used to say, “I mean no offense to anyone, but have you ever seen how fruitful a young mind is? I’ve recently discovered that the older we get the dumber we get.”
When I heard this, I processed it as, “So if we want to change what’s wrong in anything, yes the support of our elders is important, but the change comes from empowering our youth to make it.”
This topic is most pertinent to me. I baked cupcakes for my older class that day. However, since I’ve been with them a lot longer, the stipulation was, write me a poem, and I’ll give you a cupcake. This was such a successful experiment. I had some of my slacker student’s engage on this one. The stuff they produced was most beautiful. I am proud of these students. They have great minds.
What are we doing to help our future?
“Let’s bring forth our new generation with the wisdom and knowledge we gained from our lives. For this is the very mere essence of making an impact.”
I’m going to continue to report on this topic throughout this time frame. This slam is important, and is coming up.
To me, as I said to my students.
“If you want to stand up, and speak up for what you believe in, this is your perfect opportunity to do so. Think about all the adults in the community who will be there. You WILL make an impact.”