“You are special now,”
“Not a year from now, not when you are older, not yesterday, you are special— now.”
Christopher Kai opened up the 3rd anniversary of URM’s Teen Life Skills class with an encouragement that every teen struggling with homelessness needs to hear; in fact, it is what we ALL need to hear. Our identity should not be wrapped around our titles, our salaries, or our successes—but who are intrinsically. And that’s what makes us special.
We went around introducing every single student and volunteer and applauded them. The exercise was clear—even if it was for a brief moment each teen gets to be recognized as one with worth, and that small realization can go a long way living in the merciless streets of Skid Row.
Christopher then took us through the history of URM and the Life Skills class with an array of numbers.
122 — The number of years URM has been around
127 — The number of Teen Life Skills classes
107 — The number of unique speakers at the class
59 — The number of careers that have been represented
16 — The number of the different states the volunteers are from
13 — The number of countries represented from the volunteers
1 — The reason why the volunteers all come is to help, to guide, to inspire.
And what’s a celebration without food?
One of the volunteers had donated a delicious catered dinner for all the teens and volunteers! Included in the meal were salads, potstickers, chicken wings, and what one teen would describe as a “fancy” cookie.
One of the other highlights of the night came in the words of a former student. She got up in front of the class and began to tell us about her journey since her first life skills class three years ago. She shared that just because you were homeless in middle school doesn’t mean your life is over. Her life has had its ups and downs, but Christopher Kai and the other volunteers had changed her—she now had a vision for her future.
She ended with this poem she wrote.
It’s Christopher Kai, I’m here to save your life.”
I hope to see this class celebrating its 5th year anniversary soon.