“Your temporary circumstances do not have to be your permanent identity… All of us have challenges and problems, but in almost all circumstances they are temporary, but somehow they get so invested in us that we think they are permanent.”
For children living in low-income areas, the difference between success and failure has little to do with talent, and much to do with attitude. You do not have to be a brilliant student to become the first person in your family to go to college, nor do you have to be a mechanical genius to start a trade career. Dreams being achieved is often the result of resilience, enduring, and having faith in knowing that if you make small changes for the better things can add up.
Most of us have faced situations, or been given identities, that we never thought we would be confronted with. We also know how hard it can be to break free from those labels, even if the only person we have to convince is ourselves. Many of our mentees have challenges, problems, and labels that many of us never even thought about. Many of the children in our programs are living in poverty, having issues with bullying, or struggling with learning disabilities. Due to these challenges, many of them feel discouraged and hopeless in their future at heartbreakingly early ages. Mentors hear things like “I don’t know how I could ever do that,” or, “That’s not for me, people from my neighborhood don’t go to college,” before kids even hit middle school.
So how do we fix this? How do we fight this? Showing up is the first step. The key to building resilience is encouraging kids to define themselves by their character, and not by their circumstances. Almost all circumstances, no matter how bleak they seem, are temporary. Simply getting a child to believe in that is the first step to helping them reach their full potential.
If you would like to empower a child to have the courage to reach for their dreams, please visit our Get Involved section to learn about our Programs and Volunteer Opportunities. Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.