3 Ways to Impact Youth in 2018
Have you ever gone into something with a certain set of expectations, only to arrive at a completely different outcome? Of course you have. We all have.
I distinctly remember a workshop at the Juvenile Court this past September: attendees were annoyed with having to attend a class to which they were referred by probation officers. The energy was low, and some were angry at having to spend their time in the court classroom.
By the end of the class, most were energetic and the older attendees were sharing their mistakes and encouraging the younger ones to make smarter decisions. I remember thinking, “this is what my mentor, James Floyd, meant by ‘creating an environment of learning.’ ”
Every workshop is different–sometimes attendees can get unruly, sometimes there is more anger, sometimes more sadness, and often times, we discuss issues for which no easy answers exist. I remember my mom sharing about her teaching experiences, and how out of an entire school year, she was lucky to reach one student…and so I approach these workshops the same way–searching for that ONE student – and it could be any or all of them. Perhaps the most incredible realization I’ve had is that THEY seem to be the ones reaching ME. And so the outcome has been vastly different than I initially anticipated.
Some of the statements I’ve heard youth share at the court and at local schools this year are:
“Because I have felt the pain of losing someone to violence, it’s not a cycle I want to continue by hurting others.”
“If I want my voice to be heard, I have to be willing to listen to others.”
“In order to end racism in our society, we have to be willing to de-escalate, listen, and not respond with anger.”
Thanks to YOU – the reader and supporter – Be About Change has worked with over 300 students and awarded three higher education scholarships:
Darchelle Hardeman is a freshman at Tennessee Tech, where she earned a 3.4 GPA her first semester and made the dean’s list. She will begin a percussion and auxiliary instruments curriculum in the spring semester.
Hayden Hubner is a freshman at MTSU and spends all of her time with school and at The Dancer Project, where she dances full-time (5-6 days/week). She plans to write for Be About Change in the spring semester.
Lucki Price is a freshman at Belmont University and is now a regular volunteer with Be About Change. She is leading a project with us to work with students at her alma mater, Pearl Cohn.
Here are three ways you can impact youth in 2018.
1. High School Student Projects
This year, you have also helped us partner with students like Hayden MacLachlan of MLK High School, to help support their community outreach projects. Hayden has transformed her personal struggles into action for the Nashville community by attacking the challenge of increasing literacy.
Be About Change is working with faculty members at MLK to support additional efforts and will host a mental health day in 2018 for students to facilitate discussion about social and emotional issues, struggles, and some sharing of experience, strength, and hope.
2. 2018 Curriculum
Also in 2018, Be About Change will work more closely with the Juvenile Court to facilitate a four to six week program allowing for a smaller class size, more frequent interaction with the group members, integration of physical training, and development of life and leadership skills – thank you to all who are contributing and participating to make this happen!
Our workshops at the court for the beginning of 2018 are scheduled for January 9, February 6, March 6, April 10, May 1 and we are seeking more volunteers to get involved. Please let us know if you’d like to come observe and/or participate.
3. Scholarship Contest
In the February/March timeframe, we’ll be publishing the 2018 scholarship dates and guidelines. Please be sure to share with anyone who may have an interest in applying and anyone that serves local youth.
Sending you and your loved ones warm holiday wishes. Thank you for all your support. Your donations help provide scholarships, workshops, and project support for students like these. By impacting young hearts and minds with scholarships, you not only facilitate more access to higher education, you also show our youth we are all in this together – an attitude that yields exponential returns for generations to come. Thank you for your generosity, and please continue to help students achieve. Please consider making a donation.