Last Saturday, I had a rare unexpected day off. I used that opportunity to watch the March for Our Lives event. I sat proud of the way the youth stood up for what they believed in and demanded action! There are times when I am asked why do I spend time working with youth, and last Saturday was proof of why.
As I sit here writing this, I am preparing to leave for another Jamaica Mission Trip to work with youth there for another year, my heart is warmed by what I witnessed. In my youth there were people who poured into me and contributed to who I am today. I feel that it is important to give back to youth and help them develop into productive citizens. You never know how a simple encounter will impact a youth.
There are many programs out there you can become a part of. Big Brothers Big Sisters and Girls Empowered Mentally for Success are two programs that I am part of that strive to help you. I am a mentor in one program and on the board for the other. Even if you cannot give time, you can invest in programs in other ways.
I challenge every person that reads this to find someone to invest in our youth. There will come a day when they will be in charge of making decisions and policy changes. This can only happen through education and sharing.
This weekend I had the opportunity to go on a board retreat to work on planning for 2018 for a girl’s organization I am honored to be a part of. In between planning, I was able to interact and enjoy the company of two virtious and powerful women. As I reflect back over the weekend, I found a quote that sums up these two women:
Both of these women have amazing stories of how they have and continue to overcome the “bricks” that life has thrown their way. They are also both dedicated to helping others overcome their bricks. I believe that you have to surround yourself with people who inspire and these two women inspire me daily.
We all have “bricks” that are thrown at us. What makes you successful is how you deal with those bricks. I tell my clients “you can’t change the things that have happened to you, but you can choose how you allow those things to affect you today and in the future.” Each one of us has to make the decision to either let go of past hurts or use those hurts in a positive way. If we do not make one of these two choices, then we are doomed to live an unfilled life.
This weekend has reminded me that I am successful and I have crushed the bricks of my past. It has also given me confidence that I will continue to be successful crushing new bricks because I choose to handle them with wisdom, maturity, and class in the same manner I watch these two women.
In 2002, the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership created National Mentoring Month as an initiative to bring awareness to mentoring, recruit mentors, and to recruit organizations to encourage their members to become mentors. Mentoring is vary important to me. I have had the pleasure of having several mentors throughout my life who have impacted various areas of my life and have helped to shape into who I am today. I continue to sit under mentors to soak up their wisdom and knowledge. January 16, 2014 is “Thank Your Mentor Day.” Make sure you take time out of your schedule to reach out to your mentors and thank them for imparting into your life.
In 2011, I became a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters at a time when my mother had just been diagnosed with cancer. I was conflicted because I did not know if I should take on this cause at the same time of becoming a caregiver of someone with cancer. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made! It gave me a chance to get out of myself and my issues to help someone else. I have had the opportunity of watching my Little grow and transition from elementary school to high school. Since being matched, her grades have improved and the number of behavioral referrals she received has decreased. This year will mark our third anniversary and I will have the pleasure of watching her transition to high school in the fall.
I encourage you the be someone who matters! To find out how you can become a mentor visit http://www.nationalmentoringmonth.org/. If you are interested in Big Brothers Big Sisters visit their website at http://www.bbbs.org. I dare you to be apart of changing a life!