Like people of many races, ethnicities and religions in this country, I too have experiences and insight into being raised amidst the challenging circumstances of a poor, American city. I was born in Camden, New Jersey, often said to be the nation’s murder capital. Fortunately, I was raised by two loving parents, who above all else, valued family and education.
Every one of us starts off as a clean slate with endless inner resources and abilities. Let’s focus in on all of our children to ensure that their potential is realized. We all know that this simple concept has minefields in its implementation, but this cannot be an excuse any longer.
Why am I speaking out? Does my childhood in Camden County and my professional success permit me to? I am not sure, but I deeply care and that definitely qualifies me as much as it does you. I am a mother of two and stepmother of two. I am a wife and a businesswoman.
Perhaps my work and related experiences have built up my need to do more and say more. As a publisher of a children’s book series that focuses on the development of what we call kids’ “inner awesome” and healthy self-esteem, my company, The JNP Project, is just a tiny microcosm of those who can contribute.
As professionals on every level battle over how to fix our country’s poorest cities, neighborhoods and schools, individuals need to act too and not wait for the pros. We need to decide to make that critical step to pull ourselves out of our despair. It will certainly require inner super-power strength and ambition or one’s “inner awesome,” and developing this inner mental strength and esteem is not kids play.
Each family unit needs to establish a network of resources, many of which are free, but all of which will require an effort and perseverance. Resources can be found at schools, places of worship, community centers, libraries, and girls and boys clubs, etc. The old term “it takes a village” to raise our children, has endured for a reason – it’s the truth!
Many who have achieved their own American dream are already sharing that success with others! More of us need to do this and I am not just talking about financial resources. Let’s share our knowledge, experiences, and advice. Our young people need more interaction with those who have succeeded, so let’s get out in front of them!
Whether we are divorced, unemployed or just generally discouraged, there are no excuses for running away from our responsibilities to both our own children and the youth in our communities. We need to teach our youth and remind ourselves to redefine challenging circumstances as an opportunity for positive change.
If our own children are safe and thriving—congratulations to these parents and kids alike. Please also know that both these successful adults and youth are in an excellent position to extend their network to more kids who need us. If we do not have the time, we can contribute money! If we do not have kids, we can still go and find local youth who need us. Just take positive action!
With proper organization, knowledge of, and access to resources, there is no reason why America’s children cannot be given the stability, education, confidence, tools and awareness of life’s potential paths.
Since our inception, JNP has been an educational support network for kids, parents, grandparents, educators, counselors, homeschoolers and teachers–any engaging adult! We will continue building a sense of kids’ empowerment and possibilities, with all who visit us.
We encourage all Americans to identify your own strengths, ways and means—within your own “village” of resources—and share them with the youth in your own communities.
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Note: This Blog is a chronological diary of a start-up-company—The JNP Project’s Journey—reading it from the start, will broaden your understanding of the path we are on, together, and hopefully, positively influence you in some way!