Divested Young People?
There are young people throughout our community – foster kids, alternative education students, juvenile corrections “clients” … or maybe just the nameless sophomore in the crowded hall of one of our neighborhood schools – who get the impression that we have given up on them. They get that message in our language, in our systems, in the fact that we let them carry their things in garbage bags, in our avoidance of eye contact…
We believe that there are ways to inspire the under-inspired young person, and that this is the way to break the cycle of faltering family resulting in faltering youth, resulting in faltering family … So rather than write off these apparently shiftless youth as lost causes, we choose to invest. We bind up our own health and well-being to theirs, not because we are saints, but because this is reality: the health and well-being of our community is inextricably connected to justice and mercy for the young people among us who think we’ve given up on them.
To borrow a line from Coach Carter (a movie everyone should watch), when the coach was demanding, to the school principal of all people, that his basketball players should be expected to perform in the classroom:
School Principal: "But what if they fail?"
Coach Carter: "Then we fail!"