|Posted on July 25, 2012 at 2:45 AM|
Bear with me for a moment while I get a bit personal. This is not specifically related to being a doula.baker.trainer.
But it is related to my professional life and it might help someone so I want to share it.
Back when I was working directly with Afterschool Youth, I was working as a facilitator in a program in Columbia. I met a young man who left a deep impression on me. He was angry, articulate, smart, a leader, and funny. He challenged much of what I "knew" about working with youth and their families.
Mostly he was a good kid who needed a bit of guidance and he literally could have done anything he set his mind to, ANYTHING! Sometimes he gave me a hard time. But now I believe he wasnt giving me a hard time, he was having a hard time.
You dont forget a kid who comes back to visit you when he is a middle schooler almost daily. You dont forget a kid who comes back to apologize to you for being challenging. Yeah, he was pretty self aware.
James is just one of those kids I will never forget.
Flash forward a couple of years and he is in High School. We have lost touch, but I did not forget him.
My partner brings me a newspaper with this article. http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2011/11/18/boy-found-quarry-fell-great-distance/
I burst into tears, and I think I said: "Damn it James"
I mean he was going to do great things, seriously great things. It ended a little too soon for him.
As I am processing this news I discover his friends created a facebook page to honor him. So many kids came to the memorial for him they wouldnt all fit in the building. I also discover his grieving family has an online presence.
Some part of me feels compelled by James to do something. There are all these youth, many of them like James. What can I do?
I work as an Instructor for the Columbia Area Career Center. I decide that I will offer a scholarship in James' name there so someone like him can take a class that will maybe inspire them to do more. If I can just give one youth the spark that helps them, I have succeeded.
Through the planning process I get permission from the family (specifically his dad) to use his name. I have an opportunity to hear how proud of James his family was despite the stuff he was going through that was not so great and/or poor decisions he may have made.
I get to talk about James to his family in a way that makes me realize how well I really knew him. I now feel honored that he treated me like his family, he trusted me.
So I hope to share this story so that we can get the word out about the scholarship. I will be there at the interviews listening to youth talk about how they are going to change the world. I believe in some small way James will be there too.
More articles about James: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2011/11/16/investigation-17-year-olds-quarry-death-continues/
To find out more about the scholarship please contact the Columbia Area Career Center at: 573-214-3803
The scholarship is $100 awarded to a winner for any class or supply item the CACC offers.