Some measure the effectiveness of youth work by statistics of incarceration, recidivism, graduation and death.
However, there are warriors for our youth who measure the effectiveness of work with our young people in a much different manner. The warriors for our youth understand something that is beyond measurement, and nothing less than a miracle—they know one.
Their great calling is founded in one young person who knew no one, but now knows one. One youth whose way of thinking is transformed by one parent willing to take the time and provide healthy guidance. One young person whose gang affiliation becomes less important, because their relationship with one gang interventionist becomes more meaningful than gang life.
One youth that is not going to have to be buried, because one teacher ignited a desire for the youth to bury herself in books. One youth whose desire to enact violence to defend his manhood, no longer finds that necessary, because one counselor showed him that his true manhood cannot be threatened by anything outside of himself.
One youth who was a victim of sex trafficking is free from the bondage of slavery, because one youth-centered police officer was able to free the young lady. One youth, even though they returned to incarceration for a year, returns with the words of one violence interrupter echoing in their mind which assists in the rehabilitation process making sense, and so that was the last time the youth was incarcerated.
The mother burying her one child killed by violence is accompanied by the one youth worker who promised the family she would be with the one youth no matter what. With great selflessness the one youth worker pushes back her own emotions to comfort others, yet will have to deal with her own grief later.
The warriors for our youth have a philosophy of peace which is bright and evident in their actions, words and countenance every day in our communities. Those who’ve answered the calling know the immeasurable power of one. What greater return on investment is there than one?
What man-made system is capable of accurately measuring the darkness of one child’s nightmares being dispelled by the light of one youth advocate? Youth programs, and all those who give of themselves to foster healing for our future generations are literally transforming the world one youth, one family and one community at a time.
Regardless of titles, everyone is called to be a warrior for our youth. The mere purpose of our existence is to become great ancestors. You are one, and that is sufficient for the ones still out there with no one. It takes one to know one. When everyone does their small, yet miraculous part, humanity will be one within a great healing and peace our future generations need and deserve. Be one for someone to remember that we are all one.
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Editor: Travis May
Photo: Wiki Commons