Monday, June 14, 2010

They Graduated: Now what?

Young people participating in YMC programs are graduating at a rate more than double their friends. As proud as I am of that, our work is not even close to done. The majority of them will go on to college. But we live in a world where succeeding in college is getting more difficult for kids from the inner city. They are hit by the double whammy of higher tuitions and lower family income. It will take so much more dedication, commitment and perseverance for them to make it. The vast majority of them will still have their mentors to encourage them and of course, they have all of us at YMC. So, while we strive to help our young people get to their next graduation we also need to look at what kind of world they will graduate into:

This is how Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund answers the question:

“You are graduating into a nation and world teetering on the brink of moral and economic bankruptcy. Since 1980, our President and Congress have been turning our national plowshares into swords and been bringing good news to the rich at the expense of the poor....Children are the major victims. Our misguided national and work choices are literally killing children daily...Yet governments throughout the world, led by our own, spend over $600 billion a year on arms, while an estimated 1 billion of our world's people live in poverty and 600 million are under- or unemployed. Where is the human commitment and political will to find the relative pittance of money needed to protect children?  …Pick a piece of the problem that you can help solve."
Edelman offered these words at a commencement speech… in 1983!

While I want to emphasize how important it is that we work and pray to try to create a movement to finally start valuing our youth as much as we value war and wealth, I am particularly interested in the last sentence. If you are a mentor you have picked a part of the problem to help solve. If not, please consider what you can do. If so, please consider what more you can do to help make this a more equitable, just and humane world. Edelman also said that “Service is the rent we pay to be living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.”

What we do for others is our heritage and our legacy. One final quote from this brilliant woman:

“How will we say thanks for the life, earth, nations, and children God has entrusted to our care? What legacies, principles, values, and deeds will we stand for and send to the future through our children to their children and to a spiritually confused, balkanized, and violent world desperately hungering for moral leadership and community?”


Tony LoRe
Youth Mentoring Connection/Urban Oasis

Boarding House Mentors

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