When I was growing up there were two sets of peers in my world. One set influenced me to do drugs, alcohol and steal. The other set was involved in gardening, eating healthy, helping others, reading books and writing poetry. I was a very insecure kid with very low self-esteem and zero self-confidence. I was a victim of verbal and physical child abuse. I also had red hair, a big nose and was Jewish. I considered myself an outcast.
For some reason, I followed the "bad kids." They seemed to like me.
One day, the Journalism Teacher reached out and commented on my writing skills. She invited me to come to her room and talk. She found out 45 years later how important that day was for me. I recently found her on facebook and called her. We both cried. I said my name and she said..."Heidi with the red hair?" I refer to her as the mentor I had in high school who changed my life. I am sure she is reading this right now! THANK YOU FAITH for being there and having faith in me. Who knows where I would be if I didn't find something that interested me other than drugs, alcohol and thievery. This is why Keys to Be the Change offers so many different types of programs to the youth in Monroe County.
Every day I talk to kids at school who seem lost. They have no one to talk to or that cares about them. Their parents are working three jobs, maybe they are in jail, or they are strung out on drugs or alcohol, or they are deadbeats who have shirked all responsibility for their kids and they just don't really care anymore. When I meet these students through referrals, I can see their body language, their lack of eye contact and or their quiet voice that tells me they are missing two key ingredients in their lives - love and acceptance. When I introduce myself as a "youth advocate" and explain to them what that means, they seem to instantly trust me. They open up and share their story. This is when I know
Keys to Be the Change can help.
My Suggestions to them are:
- Have a mentor - someone who cares!
- Be a mentor - be someone who cares!
- Become a "Youth Leader".
- Serve the community.
- Give to those less fortunate.
- Become a role model.
- Grow and eat healthy food.
- Meet and work with a Nobel Laureate at PeaceJam.
- Visit Guatemala and work with youth.
- Promote a drug/alcohol free lifestyle through peer-to-peer messages.
- Join Keys to Be the Change!
WE HAVE THE KEYS TO BE THE CHANGE
It's amazing to watch over the course of four years the transformation of a lost soul into a true leader!
THIS IS WHAT WE DO AND HOW WE DO IT!
Keys to Be the Change organizes unduplicated programs and clubs in schools throughout Monroe County. Youth from all walks of life can join without any requirements. Our goals are to prevent drug and alcohol use, prevent suicide, promote anti-bullying, increase literacy skills, teach youth and adults the importance of a healthy lifestyle, teach youth how to grow their own food, build self-esteem, build self-confidence, become an asset to their community and to learn the importance of the power of one.
THANK YOU ALL FOR BELIEVING
KEYS TO BE THE CHANGE!
WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE...
EVERY ONE OF US!