“One is not born into the world to do everything, but to do something” ~ Henry David Thoreau
What if you could change the course of a young person’s life in just one year? What about 10 kids? Or 100? Or what about 500? What if you could help them break the cycle of possibly generations and help them to graduate high school, or avoid addiction or prison? Would you? Could you? Although we ALL may have the heart to inspire and encourage teens around us, are we all equipped the same way and can actually MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not” ~ Dr. Seuss
Well, Michael Arterberry and Youth Voices Center (YVC) have proven over the past 10 years to be able to do just that. Through the Power of Peace Program and amazing supporters like you, we have been able to transform the lives of more than 1,000 young adults per year.
Let’s meet Mariah….
Mariah was failing school when Michael first met her as a broken, angry high school freshman. Without yet learning her “story” or knowing her background, Michael could sense a sadness, a desire for more but that something (or someone) was holding her back from thriving in school and at home. As Mariah participated in the Power of Peace workshops with Michael, his staff and other students, she began to reveal bits and pieces of her “story”, her challenging family life, poverty, lack of education, no parental support.
As is his way, Michael began to mentor Mariah. He encouraged her through their group interactive workshops to not allow her environment or her history to define who she is or determine where she will go. He taught her that SHE is “The Driver of Her Own Car” and that SHE needs to take back the keys from those that have been driving it until now; SHE needs to get her life under control, “Shake The Dirt” of the past off of her back and use it to propel her forward.
Mariah had a dream…a dream to graduate high school and not only to graduate, but to become the FIRST person in her family’s history to do so!!! June 2017 Mariah graduated high school and is going on to community college in the fall. A life transformed.
What about Antonio? How has his life been changed?
Antonio was a 12 year old boy, trying to avoid the foster care system, riding the subway all night before going to school each morning. He bounced from group home to group home, haunted by his history of a chaotic family and tragic upbringing. Michael mentored him as a teenager, guided him as a young adult, encouraged him as a high school graduate, inspired him as a young man, counseled him as a husband and father(!!!!) and congratulated him as a college graduate and mentor to others.
Antonio learned through the Power of Peace and a positive adult role model that he did not have to allow history to be HIS STORY. The environment that brought him into this world did not have to be the reality of his world. A life transformed.
You see, adolescence is a turbulent time for youth during which they begin to make increasingly independent decisions that have the potential to impact the rest of their lives. A time when they often feel confused, alone, and vulnerable. This is our mission at Youth Voices Center, Inc.…to improve the quality of life of young people through Positive Youth Development in a safe and supportive environment, encouraging youth to become active, productive members of their families, schools and communities. We give teens the opportunity to build positive values, identities and social competencies, increasing their chances of breaking through negative stereotypes, toxic environments and history and moving towards a bright future. LIVES TRANSFORMED!
Our vision simply put… to help all youth realize their personal worth, so that each makes positive contributions to society.
To enable the transformational stories like those you have just read, we rely on partners and generous supporters like you!
So, today we thank you for partnering with us and our mission of impacting and changing the lives of more than 1,000 teens each year. Your gift of any amount will bring us one step closer to our “match” goal.
Thank you in advance for your generosity and be sure to follow us online to see the awesome workshops and transformations as they occur.
Youth Voices Center, Inc.
- Paul Thau
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