Visiting and speaking to the students at the Northern Kentucky Youth Development Center brought upon me an array of emotions.
Neither my wife or I expected to experience the feelings we did once departing. The audience was 27 teenage boys, children, who have uncertain futures due to their poor decisions and lack of structured parental guidance.
Being in their presence was humbling and emotional and this speaking engagement was definitely the most difficult I have ever had to do, the immense pressure I had put on myself to say the correct things, to connect to not just one but hopefully all 27, it was heavy on my shoulders. Despite the issues each one faced, those kids seemed to look up to me. They listened intently to each word I spoke and asked intelligent and respectful questions. With all their struggles and troubles, in me they found hope and I tried to shed light on them that they do have hope outside of the walls they were in. Hope. Such a strong word and so easily lost when we are in trouble.
Yes, hope in the fact that it’s possible to work through their problems but more importantly, they realized they had met a few people who care about them regardless of their wrongdoings, regardless of their past. These kids need us and I will make sure they see me again. Many of their childhoods have been a tragedy for reasons I can’t explain or comprehend but I’m not giving up on helping them overcome their challenges. Our youth need positive role models, some never have that. They need to be shown what HOPE is and what it looks like and everyone should have it no matter the situation.
If anyone would like to send me an email and would like to join me in speaking with our youth here in Kentucky please send an email to me. We can make a difference!