And so the Journey Begins

Diverse group of people put their hands together to show collaboration and teamwork

“…by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”

-Maya Angelou

I believe that by talking to one another and genuinely listening to what others have to say, we can come to understand and respect our differences. I encourage you to speak your mind about my posts, to ask questions, and to share your stories, too.

A very long time ago, I was working as an intern at a nonprofit organization that helped bridge the gap between youth from different socioeconomic statuses. It took groups from both ends of the spectrum and placed them together, for a year, in an environment where they had to work as a team to help make the community a better place to live. At the end of that year, they traveled together to Guatemala, where they saw extreme poverty, and volunteered in places like schools, coffee plantations, and medical clinics, helping folks in need.

I tell you this because, as a part of my job, I interviewed the students with the hope of hearing their stories and learning about how they had transformed from their experiences. There was one young woman, probably about 17 at the time, whose story still resonates with me. I had no idea that she had been homeless, living in a parent’s car. She talked about her poor attendance rates and her grades slipping, making graduation seem like an impossibility.

This gorgeous young lady was so poised, elegant, and intelligent–not the type of person your mind lets you stereotype and “homeless.” Like most of the kids, she shared her story, how her time in the program changed her, and went on to talk about her future plans.

I later learned that she had a candid conversation with some of her school staff and was able to change her performance drastically, even earning a scholarship to a prestigious school, where she later started their campus recycling program (I will omit its name to help protect her privacy).

Although all of that is amazing in and of itself, there was something that this young woman said that continues to shape the way I look at life. She shared her belief that, through communication and dialogue, she believes that all problems can reach a positive outcome. I was so incredibly inspired and remain so to this day. From time to time, I search her name and she continues to amaze me, constantly making the world a better place.

I want to be like her. I want to use communication, whether it be a blog, a political platform, or even stand-up comedy, to share our stories because after all, as Maya Angelou once very eloquently stated, “by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” Although her quote was about traveling, I believe it is equally as applicable to conversation. Let’s start talking!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

What are your thoughts?

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