With only one more weekend left before The PLUS ME Project’s big fundraiser, it’s a pleasure to thank so many friends for purchasing their tickets to the event! It’s also a pleasure to share a little more about what makes the organization so special.
As I wrote in my last note, speaking with students over the last couple of months hasn’t just been a lot of fun, it’s also been an honor. The truth of it is, going to schools is a humbling experience: more often than not, the students are filled with energy, humor, and the desire to just have a good time! Which makes the work easy.
And I’ll be honest, at first I prepared for something different: I thought students would be skeptical and just not all that into my visit to their classroom, at least, since that’s how I often found myself feeling about so many other educators during high school. By contrast, I’ve found that most students are happy to welcome visitors to their schools. After all, they’re there for an education! And most students do appreciate an opportunity to learn from someone else, especially when they know that someone cares.
Here, I think it’s particularly important to recognize the power of acknowledging the youth in our city. In the “concrete jungle” of L.A., it’s easy to take for granted how much so many students have to harden themselves to at such an early age: streets, homelessness, violence, and everything in between.
And I think that now more than ever, in an age where smartphones and the internet are so widespread, there’s just an incredible amount of information rushing at young people. So much, in fact, that they just have to wall themselves off in order to remain healthy. What’s more, if this information is anything like what I see online, then there’s a lot of negative imagery being sent their way, making it all the more special when someone from outside of their school stops by to let them know that–contrary to what so much of the media says about things–it’s going to be okay.
The students cheer their hearts out for this! They laugh, and applaud, and this energy catches on like fire. It radiates so brightly that one can’t help but laugh and applaud with them, which in turn lights up the entire room in the triumphant wavelengths of a community celebrating itself. Together, we affirm one thing loudly and clearly: that no matter what’s going on out there, we still have each other, and that because of this, everything is going to be okay after all!
For this experience, I’m indefinitely thankful to The PLUS ME Project, and you can see why I’m all the more excited for next Saturday! On May 2nd, another room is set to light up again, to celebrate the magical power of storytelling, acknowledgement, and ultimately, the community which its developed over the last couple of months! And I can only hope you’ve got your ticket too, as I can assure you, we’ll be happy to have you there.
Jimmy “JIMBO” Recinos