Updated: Aug 8, 2019
One of the first weeks when I began coaching with Lucas, I was opened up to some experiences that the at risk youth we work with encounter. It is easy to label the kids as delinquents or troublemakers, which wouldn’t be that far fetched. Originally, this was all I saw them as. This changed when I showed up for class one afternoon and one of our students was in the hallway with a sheet of paper.
I asked what he was working on and he showed me his paper and it was the alphabet. I thought this was a little odd since this student was one of our older ones at 16. He then proceeded to recite the ABC’s to the best of his ability. I realized in that moment that he was never taught them. Here is this boy in front of me, 16 and could barely read.
This shifted my entire outlook on some of these kids. They were not blessed with the same amazing childhood and home life that I was lucky to have. A lot of these kids have no option but succumb to a life that pressures bad decisions. They are not given the advantages of having positive influences that can teach them basic right and wrong. I never thought of the kids as having a past in that way. I took them at face value. This small encounter opened up an entirely different avenue of thinking, and allowed me to more easily empathize with the students in our care. Each youth has a different story, and being there in a supportive role for these kids is something powerful I’m thankful to be a part of.