In this week of Thanksgiving, we should all reflect on the goodness in our lives. I am struck by - and very thankful for - the tenacity of young people. Young people across the country have a vision of what they want which is a world free from violence, hate, and fear. They are my biggest source of hope in our current troubling times, and it is an honor to work with and for them every single day.
I am thankful for Let’s Be Real - our national movement by and for young people about relationships - that are having courageous conversations, confronting violence at every turn, and taking issues head on with their actions and voices. Like we see in the video above, we don't always know the whole story when it comes to teen relationships, but these young people do - and they want to make sure their friends never have to experience abuse. Stories, pictures, blogs and even a song have been generated by Let’s Be Real members this month. The underlying messages of strength, unity and perseverance cannot be overlooked.
I am thankful for the new directions in Break the Cycle's work that build the capacity of non-profit human services and advocacy sectors to support young people and encourage their leadership. Young people are working side by side with our team to make sure that programs are actually listening to what young people want - and need - to prevent and intervene in violent relationships. They have taught us that it is not enough to intervene only once abuse happens. We are listening to them as we reshape our prevention efforts - ones that uproot the ingrained attitudes and causes of violence. I am thankful to be part of a staff that truly believes in the inherent ability of young people to take knowledge and information and mobilize to ACTION in their own lives.
I am thankful for the strong young survivors in Washington D.C. who give Break the Cycle permission to walk complex legal challenges with them; support them; learn from them; and celebrate when they start to walk a new life path.
In the day to day program work of Break the Cycle, one common theme emerges. Young people are not the future; they are TODAY. They speak up when they disagree, they hold each other - and us as “old people” - accountable, they are watching our actions and our words, and they harness their power for real social change. For this, I am thankful - and I hope you are too.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 is Giving Tuesday. Your donation goes to enhancing the lives of young people and creating a culture without abuse. When you invest in them, you invest not only in our future, but in our present. To donate, click here.
CEO, Break the Cycle