This afternoon into the evening was my final mentoring session with my three Teen Voices girls. It was cut short because, due to an impending snow storm, the Teen Voices staff decided to move up our appreciation ceremony scheduled for tomorrow evening to this evening. The girls and I got two hours of work done in forty-five minutes time. A.MAZE.ING. So incredibly proud of them!!!!!
So, the ceremony consisted of speeches by the Editor-In-Chief and staff of Teen Voices. The teen girls gave "shout outs" to people they have become close to and spoke about Teen Voices in general. The heart of the ceremony was when the girls read paragraphs they had written to their mentors and the mentors read paragraphs they had written to their girls. I didn't cry, but you better believe there were lots and lots of hugs.
I will post their paragraphs about me individually later.
This is what I had to say to them (names have been protected):
I was blessed with three mentees. When this all started I knew their names, now I like to think I know even just a little piece of their hearts. _______________________________________________________________________
K---. NOT K---. K---. And, if you can’t get it right, K--- will do. Respect, y’all. Original name for an original young lady.
Original because you were the first one I met on our first day.
Original because I don’t know any other ladies who successfully rock the suspenders and pearls and polkadots all at once.
Original because I’ve never heard anyone rap out thoughts and feelings on stage quite the way you did at the Teen Voices spoken word event.
Original because there is not another person who sees the world exactly as you do which is why I hope you continue to share your point of view through writing and photography. Don’t hold back or ever let anyone hold you back from your creative expressions. You have a gift and you would be doing a disservice to the universe if you let anything or anyone get in the way of it. Live your dream.
You always worked hard, but there were times when your silence caused me wonder how interested you really were. As soon as doubt crossed my mind you would do something to show me otherwise. Actions sometimes speak louder than words and I loved that you often reminded me of that. Thank you for always keeping things interesting just by being yourself.
A---. Not A---. A---. As she says, “Good-ness, get it right people.” Unique name for a unique young woman.
A young women who prefers to work leaning over the table or laying on the ground rather than sitting down.
A young women who loves the word “lothario”.
A young women who thinks and speaks at warp speed and then calls me out when it is obvious by my reply that I only sort of understood half of what she was saying.
A young woman who, during a somewhat confusing conversation about the location of Planned Parenthood, once asked, “Wait? What? They moved the building? Where’d they put it?”
A---, you are amazingly, unfalteringly aware of what you want, where you are going, and how you are going to get there. Hold on to that. Stay confident and determined. The world better watch out, step back, get out the way because you have so much to give, so much to teach, and, when you are done, it will be a better place because you were here. There is nothing you cannot accomplish. You will take, you are in the process of taking, the world by storm. No doubt, you will blow us all away!
V---. No name confusion here, but a remarkable Miss. nonetheless.
Miss. Calls Me Miss.
V---, I admire your willingness to speak honestly about what is on your mind, is going on in your life, without fear of how others might react. It is refreshing and I know that I have benefited from your willingness to share. It is beautiful. You are beautiful. As far as work goes, thank you for keeping everyone on task and staying focused when it would have been just as easy and maybe more fun to fall off the wagon into silly oblivion. Your seriousness and obvious desire to work hard completing the tasks on any given day helped me keep it together. Your honesty and work ethic will get you far. Miss. V---, you are beauty inside and out!
To all three of you,
I will miss gummy fruit snacks, gathering around one computer to “do it together”, and nagging you about saving your sources. I will miss exchanging big hugs, leaning over your shoulders every five minutes asking how things are going, and telling you how wonderful you are. I am so grateful for your trust, honesty, hard work, and openness to possibilities during our work together. I loved each and every minute. I love each and every one of you. And though I have said it again and again and again I must say it once more. I am so very proud of you and you should be extremely proud of yourselves! Round of applause for K---, A---, and V---!!!!!