Sunday, November 21, 2010

Progress isn't always immediately visible



It never fails. Just when I think we're not making any progress, I am proved wrong.

Danielle, our Teen U facilitator and Americorps member, has been working on planning this college trip for a couple of weeks now. She was determined to get a college trip in before the holidays. Because she was so determined, I cancelled my Saturday plans so I could drive the van.

Yet, this past Wednesday, Danielle called me to tell me once the teens found out what time we would be leaving, only one was still planning on attending. Absolutely unacceptable in my book. I told her to explain to them that it takes time and money to plan these trips. I told her to let her know that we all had other plans that we cancelled for them. I told her to threaten them...and I was only partially joking.

I'm not sure what approach Danielle took. I'm sure it was much nicer than mine. All I know is that Friday evening Danielle called me to say we had 12 teens going! I must admit I wasn't completely convinced. I asked her if she had talked to each of their parents. She said she didn't know she had to. My experience has told me the more you communicate with the parents (not how much they communicate with you), the more successful you will be in ensuring the kids follow through. So, although it was already about 7:00, Danielle and Veronica (our GO Center intern from UTD) immediately went to work calling parents and making home visits.

It all paid off!

Saturday morning, by 7:15 a.m., 5 teens, 7 middle schoolers, and the three of us adults who were chaperoning, were on the van ready to go. A completely full 15-passenger van! We've never had that happen before! I was so absolutely excited!

I don't know why I doubt. The reality is, our youth want to succeed in life. Sometimes they just need someone to push them as they move into the opportunities that are becoming available to them.
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