“I want to say I lived each day, until I died and know that I meant something in, somebody's life. The hearts I have touched, will be the proof that I leave that I made a difference, and this world will see I was here, I lived, I loved, I WAS HERE” - Beyoncé
“I was here” is something everyone should strive to say at some point in their life. I know many people who can say “I was here,” whether or not they know it, just because they took the time to invest in my life. No matter how big or small, it helped me to get to where I am today.
You don’t have to buy a youth a brand new sports car to make a difference, all you have to do is take the time to listen, learn (you might be surprised by what they can teach you), invest in their future, and lastly love them for them, flaws and all. It sounds so simple that I just might coin those four easy steps as “the four steps to say I WAS HERE.”
I’ll break it down further to make it even more understandable.
1. LISTEN: Many times when a youth is in foster care their voice goes unheard. (I even wrote a blog about it.) So when an adult comes along and actually wants to just listen it’s a big deal. I remember times when I would just talk about this new recipe that I wanted to try out, or this person at school that I had a crush on. It may sound insignificant but it made the difference to me, so take the time to just listen.
2. LEARN: Youth in foster care have often been through quite a lot, and if you take the time out to first LISTEN you can also learn something along the way. I taught one of my mentors how to get all the goodness of fried, crispy catfish, sharing my secret recipe for breaded catfish that can be baked and still come out crispy and delicious. Some more important things that youth in foster care have been known to teach adults include how to enjoy the simple things in life without spending a lot of money. I didn’t have much growing up before I entered foster care so I was used to making up games to play with common household items.
3. INVEST: Take the time out to not only invest in their future, but also in their past and present. You can’t help guide someone if you don’t fully understand their background, but once you do then you can better equip them for what the future holds. Investing in the youth of today is investing in everyone’s future.
4. LOVE: This one I truly can’t express enough. Youth in foster care are oftentimes hurt by the very ones who were supposed to love them, so in return they may not know what a healthy relationship full of love looks like. Now I might start getting a little corny, but love really is all they want and need (amongst other things - but I would have to say that love is the most important). If you have love for a child then the other steps will just come naturally.
To get involved and make a difference in a child’s life today so you can say “I was here,” please click on the “Get Involved” tab and get started today.
DISCLAIMER: I would like to emphasize that I came up with these steps based on of my own personal experiences and my interactions with other foster care youth, former and current