My years of serving in youth development has impacted my love for young people. Watching young people grow into what they were made for is such an awesome thing to see. Sometimes it happens fast and almost painless. Sometimes it happens slowly with a lot of pain. But you watch, you help, you encourage, you support, you mentor, you love, you shut up and listen, you speak. And it happens, the 7th grader goes from being in lifes most awkward stages to becoming what they were designed to be.
Coaching has taught me what it means to be a leader. I've failed, I've survived, I've learned, and in the end I've grown so much. I also learned what it meant to build something from scratch, train up replacements, when to let go, and the importance of hard work. My current group of seniors were 6th graders when I first took over as the varsity coach. If I wanted to build a program, I was going to have to start young. As the varsity coach, I get to coach some kids for 4 years, sometimes its only 1 year. Most of the time its 2 years, which isn't enough time to get to know a young person. So I went to elementary games and when they moved to Junior High, I attended practices, watched their games, talked with them, got to know them a bit, and planted coaching seeds of what they needed to do at the varsity level. They got it, and this current class has been enjoying a level of success our school has never seen before.
So what does this all mean about dreaming big? Schools to give hope - S2GH. Its the biggest dream I have ever had. I have started this nonprofit organization that will be building schools in other countries. Why schools? It's really quite simple, if you want to better a community, you start young. You pour your life into them. You love them, you teach them, you provide them the opportunity to learn new things, you give them a chance to have hope, you enable them to dream, you care for them, you develop relationships with them, you speak life and you listen. You watch as kindergartners grow into the person they were designed to be, because they have the opportunity to become that. You watch as the community becomes better over all and enjoys a level of growth they have never seen before.
My dream is that over 100 schools are started by S2GH, in every country that we possibly can plant one that has a need. My dream is that our schools impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids, providing them with education and allowing them to dream about becoming whatever they want to be. My dream is that we keep kids from being forced into child labor, that human trafficking ceases to exist because kids are being cared for and protected at our schools, that villages are being changed for the better, that whole communities are given hope for a brighter future. My dream is that the teachers we train are provided with good jobs, that they see the benefit of their work, and pour their lives into their students. My dream is our schools have playgrounds were kids can come be kids, that our hallways are filled with laughter and love, that our cafeterias provide kids with nourishment, and that our classrooms are always full with compassion and a passion to learn. My dream is that when I finally have to stop doing what I am doing, I will have given everything I could.
Those are just some of the dreams I have. It's big, it can sometimes be a little scary. One of my mentors reminded me that courage is not about not being afraid, it's about pushing forward when you are afraid. What are your big dreams? What is keeping you from moving forward? Take time and answers those questions. If you are having trouble answering them, maybe it's time to step forward and turn those dreams into reality. It may seem tough, but I'm cheering you on.
-Executive Director TJ Burget