Just in case you didn't know, I have a really soft spot in my heart for kids! I love them because they think outside of the box, they're able to see past limitations and they're not afraid to DREAM BIG! Whenever I team up with an organization, it is normally because I see them enabling kids to live out their dreams.
Take Malaria No More (MNM), for instance. Every 45 seconds, a child under the age of 5 dies of malaria. That statistic is staggering, but MNM is working hard to eliminate those deaths by the year 2015! That means that these children get the chance to live their dreams. As soon as I heard that I could help and that it was easy (a bed net only costs $10), I was on board!
So, this summer, I hooked up with a few more organizations that are enabling kids to reach their dreams.
***First, I went to San Francisco for the NCCEP Gear Up Conference. Their main goals are to help improve public education, increase students' academic achievement levels, and increase low-income students' access to higher education. I got to meet 75 students that are benefiting from this program.
And since they were there, I brought them up on stage to be my backup dancers for my last song! They were absolutely amazing!
Thank you NCCEP for having me...and thanks for all you're doing to help kids everywhere live out their dreams.
***Then I went to an organization right here in Nashville, TN! Goodwill Summer Youth Program for low income or disabled high school students helps to provide the tools necessary to enter the workforce. The students will go on field trips, meet with guest speakers and take part in interactive activities designed to help them prepare for the world of work. I got a chance to go hang with the kids in this summer's program and do a question and answer session with them. They asked some tough questions, but I had a great time!
And of course, I had to take a silly pic too! :-)
***After Goodwill, I headed to Atlanta for Usher's New Look Foundation! Usher (yes, the singer) has an amazing program training youth in leadership. The training is based on four pillars...talent, education, career and service. The service pillar is connected with President Clinton's 2009 Global Initiative to keep youth Powered By Service. That's where I came in. I went on behalf of Malaria No More to talk to the kids about how they could get involved in serving others. The panel I was on was awesome!
From left to right we have Tommy (our youth moderator - he was amazing), Martin (marketing director for MNM), Flaviana (Tanzanian model), Me, Osas (Miss Black USA), Scott Wolf (actor - Party of Five, V) and Admiral Ziemer (head of the President's Malaria Initiative).
We had a great time and it was awesome to see youth get inspired to lead their country by serving!
Overall, I've had the best "summer school" session ever! The best part about it is, even though I'm going to share my story about dreaming big and giving back, these kids have taught me something too! Seeing the world through their eyes is nothing short of inspiring. The more amazing kids I meet, the more I am encouraged to keep dreaming bigger!
Maybe next year, we can make a pact to all participate in "summer school". Are you in? ;-)