Has this happened to you? You have been creating content, developing new ideas and working for others, for years and years? Well, it happened to me and I am done! Not that I am not hyper-aware that I owe much of my skill sets to former and current colleagues, strong (and not so strong) leadership styles, and other professional development experiences I have been fortunate enough to participate in. However… as of last month, I am self-employed, taking the risk, going out on my own and couldn’t be more excited! I am building my own resilience and grit. Which leads me to this…
I am passionate about creating opportunities for all young people. If you follow me, you have seen that. It is my calling to help young people understand their power and skill sets. I have been on the front line as a facilitator for kids 1st grade-12th grade+, I have coached, mentored, and continue to do so with youth from middle school to supporting our young careerists. Our conversations, text messages, emails, and social media messaging range from topics such as (in no particular order): how to make good social decisions, interview skills, academic rigor, love connections, resume formatting, parent management, respect, how to deal with teachers and professors, exploring life, the benefits of travel, personal growth, how to not give up and learn as much as they can about their own resilience and so on…
So now, I am putting my money and heart where it should be! And with a partner, we have written and developed and unique social-emotional learning curriculum. It’s only been a few weeks and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Now is the time! Now is the time because not only is this a personal journey, but the climate of the country needs this, more than ever. And it needs something new and fresh. The program we built is student-driven, youth become decisionmakers, they build relationships and can become advocates, they give back to the community. They become globally and socially minded. They also examine their own use of digital devices and social media in order to create a more balanced plan for themselves. These are just a few of the activities and concepts they will explore. (AND WE JUST GOT OUR NON PROFIT STATUS!) It’s all happening!
Further, we offer staff training and staff wellness. We believe the nature of this works requires staff to reflect on their own practice, life, and wellness before they facilitate this content with youth. We know young people are watching and we don’t want our youth workers to be disconnected. We want them to learn about their own self-awareness and self-regulation, practicing what they preach.
Lastly, well, not lastly, there’s so much more, we have a book that has been written by 25 diverse, young authors who are 17-27 years old. They share their personal, soul-searching journeys from their not so long ago childhoods and how they successfully navigated challenges. It is a book you will be moved by and want to share, I am sure of it. A friend of mine ordered the book for her 12-year-old daughter. They live in a nice middle-class neighborhood, with good schools and not a lot of hardships. When her daughter said hello to me, I asked her what she thought of the book. (See the inserted dialogue photo above for the beginning of a conversation that lasted through dinner.) She had so many questions about the students in the book and said she was excited to keep reading. It’s what we want youth to do, be engaged and desire more.
At the awesome BOOST Conference last week, I was embraced by my colleagues, new and old. They applauded my choice to go out on my own, to take the risk and they even shared their thoughts on my history and past in the field– all good things. Mostly, I heard “You are exactly where you are supposed to be, and it is your time now.” For me, personal and professional growth are a package deal. If I don’t love it, I don’t want to do it. I am supported and I am doing it!
So in this new chapter, wish me well, and a little luck never hurts. I’ll post updates. I know I will learn and grow. But one thing I know is that this is the time, it time for me to show up, stand up, be me, and share the gifts and experience I have with others. I am building this and it’s time! The time is now!
Oh yea, and things like this have happened since I opened myself up to a more independent career path- I have had the opportunity to present for USC Rossier School of Education for graduate and undergraduate students. A strong resume builder for sure!
For breakfast, I am trying the bulletproof coffee thing!