Have you ever had a day that you really couldn’t believe just happened? A day where you felt so in awe of people in this world and the humanity that exists all around you?
Today was that kind of day for me.
I started off my morning by interviewing Jeff LaFata, a City Year Boston alumni who has dedicated his career to creating opportunities for people with disabilities. This past year was the pilot year for Empowering People for Inclusive Communities, or as it is better known – EPIC. We had a long conversation about inclusivity and the lack of leadership and service opportunities for young people with disabilities – a void he passionately works to fill. The conversation I had with him was so incredibly inspiring. I can’t wait to publish the post on the City Year blog to highlight his amazing work.
Later in the afternoon, I had the opportunity to hear Richard Blanco, the inaugural poet, deliver the first poem he ever wrote and the inaugural poem. It was so powerful to hear him speak in person about the power of poetry and the importance of the arts in educating America’s youth. I had the chance to sit down and speak with him about his upcoming book and his passion for working with youth – really thankful to have had that opportunity.
This evening I ended up attending the 20th anniversary celebration for Teen Empowerment – honoring both the incredible work of this organization and the dedication Boston Mayor Tom Menino has shown towards the youth of this city. This organization hires young people to work as ambassadors of peace in their community. I ended up finding out that this organization has a branch in Rochester, NY that has been around for 10 years. I encourage you to look into it, and maybe even attend their celebration in May.
So much of today was about recognizing the power of youth – and recognizing the courageous work happening everyday to help young people find their way in the world. It was just so moving to learn about all of these different ways that people are empowering the youth of today and reminded me of why I wake up and go to work at City Year every morning. I’m so grateful to all of the people I interacted with today – there is a lot of work to be done, but knowing about these wonderful things in the works gives me hope.