Thursday, April 22, 2010

I love us!

“That was my favorite part of the day!” Tony exclaimed talking about how he and our staff jumped into action when two of our young men were about to throw down at one of our sessions. He beams as he recall how he and Free, our youth support staff, instinctively foresaw when Juan had had enough of Jose’s goading and were on him before he could actually land a punch, while Monk took over facilitation seamlessly. “I love it because, we can’t do anything about it until it shows up – and it showed up!” 

This is why I love us… because we welcome our youth to show up with their wounds, because we run towards what is scary, when most would run. Because we go there – yeah, I said it, we go there. We create the space where our young people can access their emotions not matter how much it may frighten them. Where we challenge them to write their “Last Words”, and for the first time Graciela silently weeps and talks about her shame at never having expressed love towards her brother, or where Alicia talks about how the scar she got in a car accident makes her feel ugly, or when they finally find their voice during our poetry session like Jonathan did on Tuesday at our Paramount session. He wrote:

In my dreams I see myself helping my mom, and getting her worries out.

Showing her I lover her and thanking her for working hard for my brother and me.

In the night I wish I had a father who would help m and play soccer with me.

I cry and cry when I see kids having fun with their father.

I pray to God that one day I become a man with money to help my mother

And help those who need help.

I am so thankful to God for the family and friends I have,

But when I wake up, I wonder if these are just dreams.

As Jonathan wept speaking about his longing for a father, he knew he was surrounded by a community that would not judge him because he had heard mentors and mentees speak about the scars that still stung them.

“Our gifts lie next to our wounds” – and oh the gifts they have brought us. So here is to our wounds! Celebrate them, explore them, accept them and then welcome the beauty that hid behind the pain.


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