Dear Ms. Charmayne,
Hello, my name is Meyauna. I am writing this letter because I really need your help. This summer of 2016, I wish to be working. Not only do I wish to work, my proposal is to work with The New Horizons program with the Y. I previously worked with this program last summer and I’ve taken a lot from it. I learned how to build healthy relationships with my co-workers, proper etiquette, organizational skills, traveling experience and plenty of time and money management. I learned how to take on the responsibility of being not just on time, but early, and the responsibility of not just my task, but to take on others’ tasks to be sure the job is done. I learned that my summer can be more than just waking up late, watching TV and hanging out with my friends. I could go on and on about how much this program has taught me, but overall what’s most important to me is that this program taught me to grow up. When I first applied for summer jobs, I was just thinking about the money. However, New Horizons gave me a taste of the real work world and still matured me enough to make me realize that it gets harder than that. I loved the challenge that the program gave me and I wouldn’t mind taking it on again. I’ve made long term friendships from the program and can even still use the knowledge that it has taught me. I know that it may be hard to find the funding for me to take on the spot as an intern again this summer, but I ask that you please help me. I’m very thankful for what this program has done and thank you for reading my letter.
This great letter speaks for itself, but for those who may be unfamiliar, Meyauna is writing about our New Horizons II summer program for homeless youth. She is writing to Charmayne Turner, our Director of School Partnerships, who is responsible for this program. I can assure you that we will find a spot for Meyauna, one way or another, as she is exactly the kind of person who we want here at the Y. Her words are both a testament to the importance and real impact of this program (and other programs like it), and also a poignant reminder that while the issue of having enough positive and safe places for our youth during the summer may be less top of mind than last summer (post the death of Freddie Gray), the need has certainly not dissipated one bit.
I applaud our wonderful Youth Development team for the obviously excellent work they do and I urge all of us to become more knowledgeable about the full extent of our mission and to continue to press the case for support of our charitable cause in any way you can. For those who say, “I don’t know enough about what we do beyond what happens in my corner of the world,” I challenge you to take it upon yourself and don’t wait for it to come to you. Talk to your colleagues in other areas of our organization, visit other programs, raise your hand to volunteer (contact Eric Somerville), check out more about our cause and in taking any of these steps, enrich yourself by more deeply connecting to a cause that really matters.
With the passing of the great Muhammad Ali, I am struck by a quote of his which certainly seemed to sum up his approach to life and also I believe bears relevance to the Y’s charitable mission:
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
Certainly the word “impossible” does not seem to be in Meyuana’s vocabulary and not in the vocabulary of our indefatigable Y associates and volunteers, donors, funders and partners who believe, as I do, in the potential of all children no matter what their circumstances in life.
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO