Dear Awesome Grown-up,
Do you know how important you are?
You are important for many reasons. You do important work, you make a difference in the lives of those you love, and you’re so darned witty – and generally more so on Friday nights for some reason. You’re important to your team at work. You’re important to those who depend on you. You’re important to your children, if you have them, and you are important and probably super special to your parents, if you are lucky enough to still have them as well. But none of these reasons are the reason for which I write you this letter. The reason you are so very important, is something that may have never crossed your mind.
You, Fancy Grown-up Community Member that you are, YOU are so valuable to the life of someone you do not know. Who, you wonder? This person is closer than you think.
You are super important to some young person you have yet to meet.
There are so many children, teenagers and young adults who live, go to school, and work near you who desperately need you in their lives. They may cash you out at the grocery store. They may deliver your pizza Sundays before the game. They may be walking along the same sidewalk as you after work tonight, both of you lost in thought about your own worlds, and your own very different realities. The mere fact that your realities are so incredibly different, is exactly what makes you invaluable. Why? Because you have the capacity to show a young person a new way of life, just by being yourself. How does you being your fabulous grown-up self help a young person? By opening a door to new ideas and new perspectives that can serve as a bridge across the great opportunity divide that exists for most young people today to break out of cycles of disadvantage and poverty.
I am called to write this letter to you, Dearest Community Member, because the reality is that with a small amount of effort on your part, you can make a phone call or sign up for a mentoring program today and begin making a difference in the life of at least one young person as soon as tomorrow. I urge you to consider your value, and just how meaningful you can be in the life of another person, a young person who can learn so much from you and feel important in the life of someone who is not a teacher or a parent.
I want you to mentor a young person. Now.
There are countless ways to do this. And there are countless reasons why you are needed today more than ever. Children and teenagers are under so much pressure, so much stress and they need and deserve a different perspective: yours.
Here are just a few resources – a drop in the bucket of the many, many organizations and opportunities you have to get involved in the life of a young person. Please start here or do your own research. Know that your phone call or five minutes online is the best investment you can make for all of our futures.And, ultimately, all of our futures are indeed the same future. It does not matter what you do, from mentoring to tutoring, judging a contest, or hosting an intern: the only requirement is that you share your time and your heart in genuine way with a young person.
So please, now that you know how important YOU are, won’t you help a young person feel that he or she is important to you too.
In the coming years, you will see that there is a greater call for your involvement in education, and a need for all adults to get involved in some way in mentoring young people. Imagine yourself a pioneer in a society that is struggling in many ways, but powerfully finding it’s way in others.
You are an important part of creating our future, not just for what you are doing today, but for the ways you will hold the hand and the heart of a young person as he or she becomes the wonderful, accomplished and wise grown-up of the future. That can only happen with your involvement.
Won’t you please join me, today?
An educator, former classroom teacher, coach, mentor, advocate, cheerleader for teenagers, community builder and Auntie,
About the Author:
Amy L. Carrier is an advocate for children, mentoring and community engagement in the classroom. She has been building new solutions in education since 2000. She is known for empowering teens to become entrepreneurs teaching them how to create their own unique solutions to problems in their communities. Amy has been interviewed on CNN about teaching business and entrepreneurship in schools.