Dr. Addie Ellis, Lead Consultant, Koci Group
Director of Student Services, Natomas Charter School
Painting from the Mustard Seed School.
I was recently driving down W Street in downtown Sacramento preparing to enter the freeway at 15th. As the light turned red at 16th street I took note of my surroundings. I saw a young man with a sign that simply said, “hungry.” I saw two other young men sitting by the gas station with their own signs. Under the freeway there were three other gentleman who appeared to be preparing to make camp for the night. Since the light was red, and there was no one behind me; I started a conversation with the young man with the “hungry” sign. He was 22, a graduate from Elk Grove High School. There were two notable parts of our conversation. The first was the fact that he was so very young. The second was the utter lack of hope he had for his life. He could not articulate a vision for how he was going to change his circumstance, although he stated he wanted his circumstance to change. Our conversation made me wonder, what is hope?
How does hope influence the lives of people who experience homelessness? Is hope what separates those who “make it” and those that don’t? I had the opportunity to ask several young people who live on the margins of homelessness and poverty, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” As the silence filled the room, one young lady said, “people don’t ask us that question. They tell us what we’re going to do, that we need to get a job, they don’t care about our dreams.” At that point the youngest in the group, he was 14, said, “I’m afraid to tell people what I want to be. I’m afraid they’ll laugh at me, that they’ll take it away. My dreams are all I have.” His words still haunt me, “I’m afraid they’ll take it away…”
Working collaboratively, we all can instill hope and promise to those who have none or who had it and lost it. As people living together in a community, we have a responsibility to nurture hope in our children. As educators, schools have a responsibility to foster hope in their students. We have a responsibility to foster hope in the parents, who many times experienced the same trauma associated with homelessness and poverty as their children. Alignment of our mission and our resources is key to rekindling hope in others.
inCite! is a collection of provocative narratives intended to promote thought and inspire action. The articles are submitted by various members from our region and reflect their views on community issues, concerns, and successes. It is a forum to challenge the status quo and encourage readers to think differently, act courageously, and work collaboratively. If you would like to contribute to inCite! please submit your narrative here.
Businesses are invited to be a part of shaping the next generation of job seekers by participating in a Job Shadow Day for high school students in Placer, Nevada and El Dorado counties…
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