As we enter into this Holiday season and reflect on everything we are grateful for, I am thankful not only for all of the amazing people that support Charisma’s Crayons, but also all the amazing children I get to work and grow with. The children that we work with have a lot going on. Living in poverty while also going to school is not an easy task, and it can often be hard for children to be optimistic about their futures. Well, at least that’s what the textbooks say. The kids that we work with often recognize their disadvantaged position compared to others, but they don’t let their social status, or other factors get to them. They still have hope, and I’m thankful that our children believe in themselves, because I believe in them too.
I help at an after-school program in Middle East Baltimore, and one of the middle school boys, Jaden, told me that he wants to go to Harvard. He told me how he loves his art class which MICA* offers as an after school program, and that he hopes to see me at the community garden soon. He also tells me about how he is already starting to work in order to make money on the side.
Jaden has a lot going on! First, he has a dream which he sees as a possible and realistic goal. I don’t think many children that we work with believe that they can get into college, whether it be because of money, low grades, or lack of excitement about learning. However, this boy has a dream that he can go to an ivy league college, and we want to help make that dream a reality!
How do we do this? Well, he already told us, by being involved in programs that help kids explore and learn critical skills like working in teams. By being surrounded by people and peers that are also excited about learning, we can help one another accomplish communal goals.
I want to help Jaden go to Harvard, and the best way I can do this is by helping him navigate a sometimes complex school and social system, and ensuring that he has the necessary items like school supplies and help with filling out applications that he will need for school. I am currently thinking about more ways that I can help. Everyone at Charisma’s Crayons is constantly thinking about ways that we can better the lives of at-risk students in order to make sure they succeed.
*local art school- very active in the community