Sunday, March 23, 2008

Communities "with promise"

Close your eyes for a minute. What comes to mind when you think of "at-risk"... at-risk schools, at-risk kids, at-risk communities?

What does the community look like?

What are the schools like?

The families?

The homes?

The initiative of the people?

What did you see??

I have never liked the term "at-risk." It implies negative all around. It is a term that addresses the deficits of people and places. It is self-defeatist.

"At-risk" advertises an uphill battle that is too difficult and too overwhelming to win and focuses people on looking for the negative.

What if, instead, I used the word "promising" or "with promise?"

I don't know about you, but for me that conjures up a completely different image. Sure, it's only semantics, but it changes the focus. People and communities "with promise" allow me to think about the possibilities. College...safe neighborhoods...working people...engaged kids and parents...clean neighborhoods...grocery stores...working street lights....

There are possibilities in a "promising" neighborhood.

"Promising" is what came to mind as I watched the video below. John Carter noticed that kids and parents in the Turner Courts neighborhood had promise. He, therefore, founded The Turner Twelve, a group of twelve students he follows from 6th grade through college. His first group is in college...and now helping with the second group of twelve.

In a promising community, we recognize that there are many more than twelve who are capable of making the same types of achievement.

Watch the video. I think you'll be impressed.


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