Deep in my soul is a dream. Waiting patiently for me to give it a chance, take a step, give it wings to fly. What once was a soft whisper that was heard only on the quietest of nights, has now grown into an ever-present flow of ideas and plans. There is a greater sense of urgency than I noticed before.
My dream was conceived on the urban streets of Brazil, where I was raised. My inspiration was the tenacity of the youth. It became apparent to me that young people could instigate monumental change when provided with resources, such as access to knowledge, emerging technology, information, and a place where they are valued and their ideas are considered.
Over the past twenty years I have witnessed masses of young people being ignored, avoided and undervalued. I have watched as young people get involved in every possible activity to earn praise and attention, with mediocre results. My heart has ached for those who felt they had no voice and were holding their breath until they finally graduated or turned 18 and could fly away. In disbelief I try to understand a society that basically disengages from young people as they approach age 12 or 13 and ignores them until they turn 21.
My dream is to invest in the lives of young people who find themselves ignored, disengaged or unwanted. I would like to offer leadership training, mentoring, assistance with online academics and life management skills in a community setting. Planting seeds for the next generation of global leaders and entrepreneurs.
The key word of course is "community". Humans need relationships and we grow best when living in an environment where collaboration is fostered along with individual accountability.
For now, it seems that a year-around boarding school would be the closest fit, although I am still exploring other alternatives. Homes with no more than 8-10 youth living with house parents and on the same campus as a learning center, with a small farming operation to supplement food needs. It should be near a large college community and business park, to network and partner with additional learning opportunities, internships and guest speakers.
I believe the time is now and I must start taking steps, though small, moving in this direction. The school may start out with one house and add other buildings as interest grows. It's a little scary to put my dream into words. Now it has been given life.