Last summer I gave my last workshop on Community Organizing at the 7th Annual Muslim Youth Leadership Program that takes place in Sacramento. Now its time for the 8th installment of MYLP and I wanted to share some thoughts with the Alumni of the program. I have been part of the program for the past seven years. It is by far one of my favorite programs because it gets high school students to engage with the legislative process and understand how they can empower and change their communities.
The program started with a half dozen kids from across the state of California and last year there were 56 students that came from across the state. AMAZING. But the past years participants have gone on to University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Boston University, Duke and Stanford for graduate studies- just to name a few places. Students have written compelling opinion pieces helped with election campaigns, gotten amazing internships, traveled internationally for research, got research published in major journals, worked on lobbying for healthcare bills and even found some pretty dope jobs. These kids that come to MYLP are truly gifted before they join the program, but I like to think that they are all empowered to find a new avenue to pursue their dreams and still be civically engaged. Its this difficult terms we call being “well rounded.” (More on this later.)
But every year participants get excited and often their excitement doesn’t translate or materialize into some community project success. I think that is not an issue but the real problem is to run into a wall and loose that excitment when faced with disappointment or relativity slow development. Here is some advice for the students who participated in past years MYLP programs.
If you are already in college go read the Undie-years. If you are a Senior in High School read Seniorities, maybe check out the Junior year post. If you are younger then jump to the part for the young’ins. If you are a parent reading this then you should start with the section that is most pertinent to your child, however, let me warn you this post might not make sense because its not written for parents, but rather those brave few students who stumble here.
3. You are a Junior in High School (looooong post, but worth your time!)