Post from Brooke Travers, Youth Coordinator Extraordinaire:
Yesterday, one of our Youth Executive Leaders, Diamond, said something that really resonated with me. Diamond’s group is working on the Code of Etiquette for the Harbor, and yesterday they held a focus group. After the focus group was over, she pulled one of her group members aside. I asked if everything was ok, and Diamond told me that she just knew something was bothering the other girl. After they talked and came back, I asked her how she knew, when the girl hadn’t even been in the room. Diamond looked at me and said “I know my group Brooke, I know them by heart.”
Well, it got me thinking, that simple phrase, because it was said with such conviction. We focus a lot here on our mission, which is as it should be. But in between all of the hard work that happens at the Inner Harbor Project, there has been an amazing transformation. We began the summer, and I began my experience here, with 25 kids from all over the city. Some knew each other, but not many, and there were definitely some awkward moments. These young people came from all over a city that is known for tensions between neighborhoods, and the “getting to know each other” process wasn’t fast or easy. It definitely put all of my skills as an educator and as a mentor to the test in those first couple of months.
Now, I watch them work together every day with a little bit of amazement. Eight months later, we still have the occasional issue, as is normal, but they truly love each other. They debate over social issues, which can sometimes get heated, and over which high school is the best, which always gets heated. When it comes down to it though, they have each other’s backs. It’s an important life lesson, I think, that you have to get to know someone before you make a judgment, and they’ve learned it. I’m proud of them for that. Over the last year we’ve made a lot of progress as a project, and our initiatives have become successful because it’s true, they know each other by heart.