When I take a moment to dig deep into my childhood memory hope chest, I find that it is filled with dusty dreams. As an only child, I would dream a lot. At different points in time, I wanted to be a doctor, a paleontologist, a teacher, a lawyer, and an actor. Each day would be different depending on my mood. As the years passed, my dreams were refined. I found I was a gifted speaker and writer and was good at sparking motivation in others, so I lassoed those traits to create a wonderful life full of colorful adventure. I was able to do so because I had strong people tell me that I could do anything I put my heart and mind to. I was empowered to choose what I loved. I was told that I had a choice.
With everything that has been graciously given to me, I always want to give back. As many of you know, I spend time with the girls at the Boys & Girls Clubs in Raleigh, NC. I don't volunteer for personal gain because the minute that attitude creeps into soul, the opportunity to empower girls will be taken away from me. I give my time because those girls will one day grow into women. The girls I spend time with have some of the same dreams that I had when I was their age, and I want them to know that they have the choice to achieve those dreams no matter what the obstacles may be.
Last week during our photography class, I gave the girls homework. I had them write down their dreams in exchange for cupcakes. Clearly I didn't have to ask them twice. When I returned to the club this week, I gathered their crumpled sheets of paper that had their dreams scribbled in marker or pencil. I waited to read them until I was sitting on my sofa at home with a cup of hot tea. As I opened each folded paper, the dreams began to unfold. Iyanna wants to be a teacher. Destiny wants to be a singer, dancer, movie star, Disney Princess, and teacher. SaDaiziah wants to be a fashion designer because she enjoys making pretty things. Janiya wants to be a lawyer because she likes to solve cases. Kayla wants to be a pediatric doctor because she wants to work with kids.
After reading each note, my heart was overwhelmed and I began to cry. The tears weren't sad; they were tears filled with dreams for the girls. The tears from my heart flowed with the desire to empower these girls to run after their dreams with tenacity and strength. Kayla, the sweet girl who wants to be a physician, said she knew it would be hard to achieve but she didn't care. Kayla, my dream is for you to jump every hurdle and conquer every battle so that she can save lives and pass on the dream torch.