Part 1 in a 2-part series
It’s time to change the narrative. Negativity so often prevails and sells that it’s often tough to find the positive in the world. Of course, it’s there but unfortunately, not always apparent. Typical media outlets don’t help because they tend to regurgitate the same stories or focus on the most sensationalistic topics. And they definitely don’t seem to go outside the box when it comes to stories about African Americans. Those stories would have us believe there are only three categories of black people — athletes, entertainers, and criminals. By turning one’s gaze away from the stereotypes, you see an altogether different story — one of perseverance, triumph because there are so many young men and women making contributions that are worth celebrating and sharing. In our blog this week, BCT Partners highlights five incredible young people who do change the tired old and inaccurate narrative of what black people are and l restore faith in humanity the media often characterizes as crumbling.
It’s Not Okay but It Will Be
Charlie and Hannah Lucas are siblings from Georgia who created an app (notOk) designed to let young people know that they are not alone. It’s designed to make it easy for youth who are in crisis to ask for help. Hannah knows firsthand what it’s like to be in pain. She has an autoimmune disease that can make her faint and she suffers from chronic fatigue. Now, whenever she isn’t feeling well, she opens the app and hits the notOk button which sends out a text message that reads: Hey, I’m not OK. Please call me, text me, or come find me,” along with a link to the current GPS location to five pre-selected contacts in her phone. The app is also based on scientific research that proves that peer support can have a transformative effect on both individuals and systems. As mental health expert, Dr. Craig Beach says, “Peer support has been proven to help those with chronic pain by reducing the number of days of hospitalization and improving overall quality of life.”
Champions of Change
Established by brothers Jeremiah and Joshua West, Champions of Change was designed to “empower youth of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds to serve as “change agents” by looking for opportunities to make an immediate and lasting impact within their communities.” Their charitable works have included:
Spa day for Homeless Moms – This annual event held around Mother’s Day celebrates the participating moms with a gourmet breakfast, manicures, pedicures and lots of gifts.
Princess for a Day – This event was hosted at Walt Disney World for 15 girls living in foster care and their foster moms. They were treated to make-overs, a new Disney Princess dress and all the rides they could handle.
Homeless Christmas Party – These annual Christmas parties have been held in Rochester, Buffalo, and NYC. To date, they have provided 1,100 homeless men, women, and children with new hats, gloves, hoodies, haircuts, hot meals, and a visit from Santa.
Kings Don’t Bully
Meet Nyeeam “King Nahh” Hudson. He is a motivational speaker, author, and entrepreneur who spreads a message of self-love and confidence to his peers and their parents. He advises on how to deal with bullies, the importance of education and he focuses on positivity and self-help on his You Tube channel. By 10 years old, he had already created a brand, Kings Don’t Bully, and now has more than 75,000 followers on Instagram. Raised by a single father, his philosophy is one that we should all live by — “Make sure you're working on yourself every day, you don't see a masterpiece take shape until you add all the pieces. Greatness works the same way. Confidence is a piece, dedication is a piece, commitment is a piece. You're going to need a little bit of everything on your journey to greatness.” Wow! Forbes once called him, the most motivational kid in America and we have to agree.
In summary, these young people are proving that greatness starts with the right attitude. They didn’t let age hold them back. They saw problems and they decided to be part of the solution through their actions. In fact, they put to shame most adults in terms of what they have already accomplished in their young lives. But the most important part about their message is that we all possess greatness, we just have to harness and strengthen what’s inside each of us.
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