Hello Breakfast Club readers & leaders! As we approach August and get closer to launching the 2017/2018 school year, I wanted to share a speech I was asked to do for a CAL SAC leadership event in June, in Los Angeles. I am hoping this helps motivate and inspire you and your staff to appreciate all you GET to do.
They come to us filled with hormones, under-resourced, confused, academically behind, overstimulated and oversexualized, underfed, tired and with poor hygiene.
They are bullied, they feel isolated, beaten, numb, needy, and often broken. And yet they are also are excited, willing, open, creative, opportunistic, resilient, and filled with grit. And guess who they come to program for?? They come to program because of YOU.
We know and understand the challenges our youth face. There is a clear deficit, they call it ‘a gap’. The gap can be around educational achievement or around personal growth and development. You see the gap where other kids as close as only two miles from their neighborhoods are in “the better school”, they are in more competitive sports leagues, they have two parents taking care of them, families that while dad is working, mom does Pilates and her nails and those families have three cars in their garage.
Some families go on vacation, some families eat at fancy restaurants, some kids get new clothes, some kids have new school books, some kids have computers on their campus, some kids eat every night…. and some kids just don’t. Those kids, those kids that just don’t, are usually our kids. And we love our kids.
And you, you are charged with being a “solution provider”. A leader.
What do you think that means? Seriously, what do you think that means? You are charged with solving our kids’ issues in education, and in life. Teaching and supporting the school day, teaching life skills, teaching social emotional learning and balance, teaching them about character- about having values and morals, teaching decision making skills and self-regulation. You are the gap filler, the child advocate, the change maker, the game changer.
You started in the field, now you are managing the field. You manage your staff and your kids. You are a role model, a teacher, mother, a brother and sister, friends and fathers, coaches and mentors, and you’ve become leaders. You are leading your community and developing whole children. Not half children. We focus on the big picture, we see them as successful, productive contributors to society and their community.
You get to do that.
You get to teach your staff and create programs for students that help them navigate their lives with confidence and curiosity. When you work with character education and social emotional learning, you get to open up their eyes to the world. You get to show them that life is bigger than the 5 blocks from home to school. You get to expose them to college opportunities and career possibilities. You get to challenge them to think harder, more critically and use their imagination to ignite their dreams. You get to do that.
What else do you get to do? You get to develop your staff and create leaders. You get to require your staff to read more, to listen harder, to engage deeply. You get to pave the way for your staff so they understand how powerful they are when working with students. You get to help your staff find their passion and move on it. You get to inspire your staff with tools and equip them to work with your students with energy and excitement. You get to craft the way with your own knowledge and skills and have a captive audience, your staff see you as their mentor, coach and teacher too. You get to do that.
I travel around the country and get to meet and train programs/schools all across the nation… I get to see the unbelievable commitment you have for our youth. You are ‘craftsmen and women’. You get to learn the tips and tricks that will close the gap. That gap that I wrote about a few minutes ago.
Kids aren’t measured on their social emotional skills, their 21st century skills, but we know they need those skills. They need them to get into college and stay in college, to work at a Target, to raise their own kids, to own their companies, to successfully navigate challenges in a thoughtful way, to make better decisions about their futures, and not become victimized by their circumstances and to see themselves as leaders. And mostly awesomely…to break the cycle of poverty, and pass that on to a new generation of college and career ready, thriving young people. You get to do that.
I’ll leave you with this –
You are a heart-centered role model, a teacher, mother, a brother and sister, friends and fathers, coaches and mentors, and you’ve become leaders. You are leading your community and developing whole children. Not half children. We focus on the big picture, we see them as successful, productive contributors to society and their community. You are a miracle worker and a game changer.
You get to do that!
P.S. Stay tuned for additional BACK TO SCHOOL tips from our blogging team all through August. Not to miss!
For breakfast, I had a Cookies and Cream Herbalife shake and a coffee.
Author Profile: @juliagabor