It's amazing what connections can be made at Starbucks! (ok...well, maybe that's an excuse. :) ).
A couple of weeks ago I met a friend of a friend for coffee. We both had similar desires to see kids get into college and be successful. From that meeting, we planned a College Prep Day. As I talked to parents and invited teenagers, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of teenagers who said they were coming.
I was quickly disappointed when I called to confirm with each of them the day before the event. There were many different reasons..."I forgot"..."My daughter's sick"...
Then the day of the event..."My brother went to work with my dad"..."She had to watch her younger sisters and brother because her mom had to work."
I get frustrated when people have opportunities, literally in their back yard, yet they don't take advantage of those opportunities. I also get frustrated when people have to do things because they don't have money like kids in wealthier families...like go to work with their dad or watch their younger siblings...and are unable to take advantage of opportunities.
The great thing, though, was that as some people were backing out, the ones still coming asked, "Can I bring a friend?" Plus, some kids I'd forgotten to remind...and forgotten were coming...showed up right on time.
By the time we started this morning, we had 11 middle and high school students and 6 college students (all who have been involved with Central Dallas in the past and were there to volunteer).
The teenagers asserted themselves as they did introductions:
Thought about what to write in their essays:
Learned how to mind map:
Created their own mind map:
Talked about their college experiences:
Overall, it was a great day!
There may have "only" been 11...and they may not have been from Turner Courts (well, a couple of them used to live in TC)...but there were 11 students there *and* 7 college students who have been where those 11 were.
Besides, I've learned that 1) you've got to start before you can build something and 2) it takes time to build trust and rapport...especially for something like college...when most people go into neighborhoods like Turner Courts assuming that kids just need to "stay off the street" and wouldn't be interested in college or academics. I also know that every person was there because of that relationship and that trust and rapport that's been built...and started with many of them at 2 or 3 years old!
I'd say we're off to a good start. Anyone interested in helping me keep it going?