Every year, I go back to my roots. I take some time to visit my high school alma mater and speak to students there. I stop them in the hallway, I visit classrooms, I catch them outside, and we talk about college, career, goal-setting and life in general. This past December 2013, I spoke to almost 100 students in about five classrooms, in the hallway, and during students’ winter break, and after one classroom presentation, a student came up to me. She asked for help. She said to me, with sincerity, “I need everything-motivation, college help, career help….I need everything. I need help.” She went on to tell me that she felt, as a senior, that she had made many mistakes that she felt would hold her back from successfully transitioning from high school. I left her with words of encouragement, empowerment, an offer of mentorship, and a push for her to develop a support system that could provide her with all of the above. My talk with her class seemed to have left her with the impression that I could be the source of motivation she needed to succeed. Her best friend, also a senior, stood beside her, and after I inquired, I found out that her friend had very clear direction and motivation. After encouraging them to motivate each other, they squealed. I don’t believe anyone had explicitly stated to them previously how important it was for them, as friends, to hold each other accountable for success. They were excited.
We sometimes downplay the power of motivation, and the significance of the role we play in the lives of those we care about. Though programs like ours make a tremendous difference in the lives of youth, our youth have the power to influence each other, and family members and community members like you have the power to completely change the perspectives of the youth around you.
So, let’s do it.
Let’s be the motivation our youth need to succeed. We all have everything it takes for us to do so. I’m excited about the possibilities for the youth around us once we realize our own power to motivate and inspire them.
This year, let’s be inspired. Let’s be motivational and inspirational.
Our youth deserve it, and you deserve the satisfaction of knowing you’ve made a difference.
Let’s do it!
Daphne L. Charles, Project Inspire Founder & Executive Director