As a proud Chicagoan, an African-American, a future mother, and a human, I had a very strong reaction to the news about the killing of Derrion Albert, a 16-year old honors student from Chicago. What happened to Derrion was tragic, but sadly this is the kind of violence that more and more of our teens both here in the city and across the country are faced with. And, it’s not just the gang members and drug dealers. Teens who are doing everything in their power to avoid negative situations are getting caught up in the ills of their communities and something has to be done about it.
I blog about giving back and living a charitable lifestyle because I want the world to be a better place. I know that each of us has the capability and the power to make sure that every day in the future is brighter than the one that proceeded it. But, if our young people are constantly being taken from this world, I have to wonder what kind of future are we looking at. These teens could be our future cancer researchers, HIV activists, philanthropists, educational advocates, and nonprofit leaders. Saving them is saving us.
Last school year, 34 Chicago Public School students were killed and hundreds were injured in shootings, and officials are predicting that this year could be even bloodier. I’m angry, heartbroken, and confused, but I’ve learned that those feelings need to be channeled into something positive. Having said all of that, mentoring the youth is now one of my top priorities. I’ll be looking to my peers and community leaders to help me get started. I want to be part of the solution, and not just talk about it. These are not just somebody else’s kids. These are our children…Our future.
If you are involved with community mentoring organizations and programs, I’d love to hear about it. There are plenty of people doing their part to support our communities, and I’d love to help spread the word. The first profile will go up this Friday weekend, and will continue in a weekly series. Please send all information to firstname.lastname@example.org.