We have all noticed, by now, there is a problem with today’s youth. They are misled by music industry and the entertainment industry, lack of parenting and lack of positive role models. This may not be the case everywhere but for those of you who can relate: This is for you.
I have a passion for inspiring youth to be all that they can be. Whether they want to be the greatest basketball player, football player, student, doctor, or maybe they just want to be a good person. My goal is to give them whatever tools and resources I can provide them to reach their goals. Not everyone has what it takes to understand and get through to the youth. To be honest, there are people who do not care for at-risk youth at all.
You may be wondering, what is considered an At-Risk Youth?
At- Risk Youth are minors who are less likely to shift successfully into adulthood and achieve economic independence. For example, if a child lives in a single parent home, low income environment, and struggles in school. Then that child is most likely going to fail according to society’s point of view. I do not agree with society’s standpoint. Someone could pull up any factsheet, or data report to try to prove to me that this point of view is right and I will not believe it.
I was that child. I was the child that grew up in a single parent home, low income environment, and struggled in school. My father was incarcerated for the majority of my childhood. My family, teachers, neighbors, you name it, used that against my brother and I. In fact, my 7th grade teacher told me, in front of my class, that I would not graduate high school. She said I will end up in prison. Due to the lack of encouragement, it forced me down a path of destruction. Like any other child in this predicament, I still put in efforts to seek a positive male role model. I came across many people that wanted to help me and guide me. My wrestling coaches were the most influential in my life. They helped me change my mindset from I can’t reach certain levels to if I work hard enough I can achieve anything. I built up the courage within myself to change my life for the better because I knew my coaches and my family believed in me.
What I am saying to you is:
Do not look down on these young people because they do not have support and resources that some may have. I believe these youth are the ones that are more willing to make changes in the world because they understand what it feels like to be misunderstood or looked down on.
Some of the best success stories come from those who were once labeled “at-risk”. The President of the United States, Barack Obama, was once considered at risk. Children all across America are looking for someone to believe in them. They simply want someone to take the time to hear them and help them through their struggles. I know this from my personal experiences, but I have also taken the time to go back to mentor youth from all walks of life. I have done volunteer coaching for my former high school, I have gone to the juvenile detention center to speak to a group of teens, and I have simply been an example for those around me. I have done this by making positive choices for my future and working hard at whatever I do. Someone told me that there is no point in speaking to these kids because they are not going to listen. That statement is the very reason why our youth are killing each other today:
They feel like nobody cares about them anyway.
You don’t always need a paycheck to do something good for someone. The greatest reward is seeing the smiles on their faces when they see that you truly care for their lives.
I hope that I can encourage you to get out there and make a change in your community.
Remember, they just want to know that someone cares about what they are going through.
Here are a few places that you can get connected with to help make a difference in a community near you:
Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor, MI
I would also like to encourage you to go to any school, community center, or church in your area and volunteer in anything that fits your interests.
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This message brought to you by: Lamon Simpson, Leo Inspirations founder.