You Have to Believe in the Kids

This past Sunday on the CBS newsmagazine, “60 Minutes,” a segment featured the innovative and controversial charter school in New York City, The Equity Project ( At one point in the segment, a teacher was interviewed and, in response to a question about the challenges of teaching disadvantaged and at-risk youth, she responded that more than anything else, “You have to believe in the kids.”
Her comment really resonated with me because I hear it said every day here at Hillsides as we address the challenges that our kids confront. At the end of the day, you have to believe that somewhere beyond the hurt, the trauma, the confusion and anger,  each child can move beyond the obstacles and come away restored with a sense of hope and a fuller life.
Belief is often tested when it is up against the odds for failure. Let there be no doubt the odds for the children and families we serve are against them. In spite of the challenges, when they are surrounded by good services and more importantly great people, something wonderful begins to happen. You see the change in their demeanor and behavior — eventually a sense of hope is restored.
Years in this field has convinced me that there is no reason to give up hope for any child or family. Though the challenges are great and the resources are scarce, what we are able to offer them makes such a difference–the kind of difference that changes lives!
Please join me in resisting the cynicism of our stressed and painfully limited world by embracing those we serve, convinced that if you believe in them, in their inherent dignity and worth, that great and wonderful things can happen for them.

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