Naturally, we like to dip our toes into everything. Try new things, meet new people, eat new food. We want to see where we find the most success and what we should probably never do again (what were you thinking, right?). Though UPSO does so many events from hip-hop shows to sneaker conventions, the youth we interact with is, hands down, our bread and butter. Yes, we make sales and yes for sure, that’s where at least 85% of our profit comes from, but it has never really been about that.
We have learned more about who we want to be by the words these kids put together themselves. Their pure, raw, unfiltered truths. It’s when they come up to us with their googly eyes reminding us why we do what we do- for them. To guide them in the right direction in any way we know how. Remember being a child and feeling like your opinion never mattered? But you knew exactly what you meant and no one really cared to listen? It’s that worthless feeling that we need to stop doing to them. We need to stop being condescending.
When UPSO goes to schools, we drop our maturity to their level.. or immaturity. We are kids again. We understand where they are coming from. We remember how big of a deal it was when the girl you liked liked your best friend more or your parents wouldn’t let you stay out once the street lights come on and you never really got the explanation of why not. And because they are so raw, we are raw. We tell them the pure, raw, unfiltered truths. We speak to them as friends. They become our family. We are a society. We hold these relationships close because, truth be told, they are our future. Standing in front of a crowd of so much potential. We should be honored to be speaking to future engineers, artists, astronauts, who knows? They are a 5 foot something someones beaming with potential with the will to learn and to dream and to become, it’s incredible to watch. It’s an aura everyone needs to feel.
We downplay children more often then not because, well, they’re children. But UPSO sees so much more than that. We see what they can become and what they can change and who they can affect. Yes, we go there to help and motivate them. But truthfully, we’ve found blissful happiness through them. They have taught us to get back up after we fall– slap a band-aid on that and start again.
So thank you. To all the students, sponsors and all youth that our UPSO team has gotten to interact with, you are all incredible and when I grow up, I want to be just like you, a dreamer who isn’t afraid to be all that they can be.