A couple of weeks ago a young girl that I mentor reached out to me to update me that she had landed a new gig at a non profit called Hip Hop 4 Life. She also mentioned that she wanted to bring some teens by the office for a session on Image and Presentation skills.
I'm sure you are wondering what is Hip Hop 4 Life? Hip Hop 4 Life's mission is to connect life skills training and health awareness programming with the interests of today's youth. They create various program curricula that best relates to where they are in their lives, ultimately giving them the tools and education necessary to succeed in life. I also learned that they have a grant with the DOE to go into NYC public schools to support our youth in various ways. Sounded awesome--sign me up!
Aside from being super proud of her for finding a job that married her passion for non-profits (we had discussed this at length in the past) and skill I was excited because I had the power to do something that could make an impression on someone.
Fast forward a few weeks and I had assembled a few senior level colleagues of mine along with one of our VPs to present their personal stories, anecdotal information and 5 key takeaways to 10 very engaged ladies ages 14-17.
I'm sharing a few highlights below (and I'm keeping them in my own back pocket cuz' you are never too old to learn):
1. Know your road map and your plan to get there.
2. Don't be afraid of change.
3. Pay attention to the details.
4. Always be ready and prepared.
5. Being aggressive is not a bad thing.
Needless, to say those 2 hours left me inspired, energized and refreshed. For the most part my main goal (since I had children) has been to mold the little people I brought into this world into proactive 'global citizens'. On this day however, I was excited that I had been a part of something that could possibly change the direction of these girl's lives.
I say all this to say that, in essence as working mothers we (shoot maybe its just me but I doubt it) often think we are too busy to join organizations that require us to volunteer (for fee we can't commit to the hours) or where would I find the time or my weekends are full with kids stuff, etc. But I challenge us all to think outside-of-the-box. Maybe you can volunteer through work like I did or you can mentor someone. There are lots of things you can do that are small in effort but can be big in impact.
I am eternally thankful to my colleagues for participating in these sessions. I learned so much from them that day but more importantly I learned something about myself--I am capable of more and just a little push can make all the difference. It is that push to do more that I also hope to instill in my children.
Hip Hop 4 Life is a champion of positive youth development and empowerment. To learn more or find out about volunteer opportunities go to HipHop4lifeonline.