"Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature's law is wrong it learned to walk wihout having feet. Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else ever cared." -Tupac Shakur
I share this poem because my experiences relate to the content, and I believe a lot of the other youth in the YMCA programs do as well. I see it as we're all roses that have potential to grow from the cracks of concrete but sometimes some of us fall through the cracks because some of us might not have that support system. For me I lost my parents as a youth to violence and ended up in the foster care system. Always switching up different homes and never being stable when my mother would get out of jail and get custody of me had a burden on my life.
Living in shelters wasn't the way any kid yet family should have to live. I eventually lost my mother to her lifestyle of drugs and alcohol and grew up all alone in the foster care sytsem. I often questioned what my purpose was and why I didn't have anybody. I resorted to getting in trouble and haninging out with the wrong people that I thought was my family. Little did I know I was the crab trying to crawl out of the crab pot and they were dragging me down with them. For a long time I made excuses, and blamed my problems on not having anyone around that cared. My homies cared but they didn't understand my pain and struggle.
My only hope was that I was a big dreamer and I dreamt that one day life will get better. I wouldn't have to sleep at friends' houses anymore. I felt bad because I didn't have anything to provide, such as money. I eventually worked day labor jobs; I'm talking about sweat and long hours for nickels and dimes. It wasn't enough so I tried the hustling game of selling drugs and whatever I could get my hands on. That road eventually led me to false friends and bad karma. I still kept my dreams alive that one day it will get better.
I eventually got involved with YMCA Young Adult Services, and entered their transitional housing program. The two years that I stayed in housing I was able to recieve a case manager and the support from staff to help guide me in the right direction. There were still the ups and downs but the YMCA was there when I was down and there when I was up. I developed a relationship with the staff and in some way each staff had an influence on my life. I eventually got into working with youth through the YMCA Center for Young Adults, and I took my dreams of starting my own business of screen-printing and ran with it. To this day I am giving back to the Y and the community. I hit my two year mark of working with the Y in 2012, and it's crazy how much I've developed as a person. I am a mentor to youth who get out of juvenile detention, and ongoing business owner, and a resident manager for a transitional house that the Y operates. Funny, huh?
I as well as many others behind me will continue to grow into that rose that came from the crack in the concrete, with the support of people who care so much to support the mission of the Y, and providing young people with a support system.