Well hello, friends,
I have been out of commission for a little over a week now, and it made me think about at-risk youth. Many people shy away from the children and young adults labeled “troubled” or unreachable. Now, I will say this, some kids really know how to test anyone’s patience. At the same time, if you have only learned one way of doing something, and you have not had the opportunity to be exposed to something else, you tend to stick to what works. How many ways and times can you be told you’re not good enough, something is wrong with you, you’re ugly, or you’re just not? It takes a special type of person to peel back each layer of pain, trauma, hurt, low self-esteem, and anger. Even after getting to the root of the problem, there is still the need to, not only cultivate a positive relationship but now, you must get to work on helping them recognize their talents. Yep, even “those kids” have talents. I recently took a step back in time and visited one of the Youth Challenge Academies. It was an amazing experience, and my heart swelled with pride. There is something to be said about the children who find you years later to tell you what an impact you had on their lives. It made me consider becoming a mentor for children in the program. The location of the program may be a tad too far of a drive for me to return to full-time work, but I love volunteering. What better way to give back and prepare for the future?
The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe programs provide many students with amazing second-chance. For some Cadets, it is a first chance to realize that they are capable of amazing things. While the program is quasi-military, no one is pushing joining the military. Now, some cadets graduate and join a branch of military service, others also continue to study trades, pursue advanced education, or join the workforce. It would be great for every student enrolled to reach their potential. Unfortunately, all students do not go on to graduate. The good thing is cadets are exposed to 8 core components that they can carry with them for life. If you know students, at-risk youth, or a 16-18-year-old teen needing an extra push. Check out the websites below. Every child is reachable, you may need to modify your methods.
Keep on pushing,