Dear Colfax Community Network Kids,
First, we love you. Second, we wanted to give you some advice. We know we are only 10 years older than most of you, but we wish we would have heard these words when we were your age.
Love, Waldorf Colorado Young Leaders, Class of 2016
For the entire first week of June and the last official week of school, the Juniors at Waldorf HS in Denver were Colorado Young Leaders in the lives of elementary age kids from Colfax Community Network (CCN). CYL designed the week to allow the high schoolers to completely immerse in the lives of these awesome kids, while also being challenged to be leaders and role models. Monday through Wednesday was spent at CCN playing games, going to the local pools, reading books with them, and prepping their meals.
On Thursday morning, Waldorf took a break as a community from service and the city to get away and experience in the outdoors together. We hiked a 2 mile trail to the High Lonesome Hut, a backcountry get-away near Fraser, CO. We missed the CCN kids, but need the time in the wilderness. Before dinner, Nicole, the CYL leader, led the students through a reflection time on their impact and time volunteering with CCN. After a discussion together, she asked the students to find a rock, some shade under a tree, or a quiet spot along the marsh to reflect on the question, “If you could tell your new little friends at CCN anything, what advice would you give them?” This is what they said…
“You are brave, strong, and capable of achieving anything you want. Do not let what other people say about you determine future. The world is yours just as much as it is anyone else. Learn to love yourself, love others, and know that things are not always going to go your way. Don’t be afraid to do things your own way.”
“When I was 12, my mom abandoned me, and my father couldn’t take me because he died of cancer. Luckily I had my older sister to take me in. If she wouldn’t have taken me in, I don’t know where I would be today – maybe homeless or mixed up in drugs. I didn’t know a lot of beautiful things about life, and when I started to live with my sister, I started to learn. It was hard because I didn’t know anything about structure, and it took me a couple years to learn. Just know that this world is beautiful and you can overcome any obstacle. Three years ago, I was lost and scared, but today, I feel I am onto of the world! I want that feeling for all of you.”
“What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger and always work like there’s someone better than you. Life will come easy if you work for it.”
“You guys are awesome. But more importantly you guys are strong kids, don’t let anyone tell you differently. I look up to you and I’m older than you.”
“Hey guys, I had an amazing week with all of you and can’t wait to see you tomorrow. You guys are so cool and every single one of you is special. Life can be unfair but you guys are strong. Know I love you and plan to be in your life more.”
“I want you all to do me a big favor. Be nice. If you are nice to people not only do you feel good about it, but people will be nice to you. So, be nice, be understanding, and be loving. Thank you for being you.”
“I think the most important thing for you all to know is that you never need to apologize for being yourselves. Especially you young girls, you are taught by some parts of society from the day you were born that you aren’t good enough. I think it is also important that you know you are not alone. Sometimes it feels like it, but it will always get better if you look around.”
“I use this quote, ‘Without a low point, there isn’t a high point,’ to remind myself to think positively about situations. Continually tell yourself that things will get better – they will. Be patient and wait. Think to your future when you will be all grown up and directing your own life. You can and will make the right decisions.”
“Mixed in with everything else are good surprises. Sometimes what’s good doesn’t seem good at first.”
“Know that you are special. Sometimes it can be easy to get lost in trying to fit and be like everyone else. It’s easy to put your identity in others instead of finding what truly makes you unique. Remember that you are special and that you have something to give to the world that no one else can give. Strive to find something that you love and work as hard as you can to achieve it. Remember to you are loved and to be kind. Kindness and Open-Mindedness will take you far in life.”