Our Extraordinary Youth

This week has been extra – ordinary.  We’ve been doing the ordinary things we always do here at Hopeworks and the CRIB- youth are doing training, having literacy sessions, going to formation, having community dinners and meetings, and studying for classes.  But in the midst of the ordinary- I’ve been reflecting on how extraordinary our youth are.  Because the reality is that what we are up to here in Camden isn’t ordinary.  And for youth, it sometimes feels like a whole lot of “extra” stuff to do.  But they are doing it and they are moving forward towards their DREAMS, even in the midst of obstacles and adversity.  Two different events this past week highlighted this:

(1) The Hopeworks Film Festival took place on Wednesday.  This event is a time when trainees share their digital stories that they have created as part of their training.  Each story has a unique spin and shows you a part of who a trainee is and/or who they want to be.  Some films are raw- they cut to the heart with stories of brokenness from their personal lives.  Some films are informative– such as a film about world cultures, and one focused on animal cruelty. Each film is unique.  Sitting in the audience and watching the films in the Rutgers Gordon Theatre, I was blown away by our youth.

(2) Secondly- two more youth moved into the CRIB last weekend.  These two young men, Chris and Dante, have joined a community focused on success and achievement.  They said yes to a new lifestyle where accountability, community, relationships, and focus are a huge part of their life.  They’ve chosen to go beyond the ordinary here in Camden.

While these two events in the past week highlighted how extraordinary our trainees are here in Camden, I know that each day a youth walks through our door is extraordinary.  Each day that goes by and a youth takes a step toward their DREAM is an extraordinary day.