Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Using My Voice for Change

Jenesse Center Youth Leader Bryson Rouzan-Thomas and his group The Change will be hosting their second annual Youth Conversations in collaboration with Jenesse Center's BeSo You! program. Below Bryson talks about his experience with Jenesse in his own words.

A couple weeks ago, I had a chance to volunteer at Jenesse's third annual 'Camp Jenesse', a summer camp that I co-founded with Ariel Gilliam and Angela Parker in the summer of 2009. Angela Parker has done a fascinating job in promoting the camp and enriching the goal/purpose of why it was founded; creating the "summer of a lifetime" for the Jenesse children. My day of service had a theme which involved incorporating music and helping children find "the art within them". Unbeknownst to me, something so little affected me so greatly. Sitting watching the kids play "Dance Freeze", listening to Katy Perry's "Firework", everything came together. 

"You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow
 Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it's time, you'll know"

It seems so cliché, yet when you think about it, the message of being yourself and boosting your confidence fits so perfectly. The idea of igniting the light within you and showing the world who are you are and what your capabilities consist of. I write this email out of inspiration. I have been inspired to do good within my community which is why I strive to be the best role model I can be whether I am around my peers, Jenesse families, or even strangers. Each person has the ability to give back; to use their voice for "the greater good". I use my voice to be an agent of change for my generation. The greatest reward I have received is the ability to see the hearts that have been touched because of the precious time donated to acknowledge the spark in each child; to prove that someone really is listening.
I even had the chance to sit down with "The Change" last week and view "Telling Amy's Story"; a documentary about Amy, a former Verizon employee who lost her life due to an emotionally and physically abusive husband (this will be shown at our upcoming Youth Conversations 2011). Originally, I did not think that the group would be interested in the movie, however, I saw an array of emotions that followed with an abundance of questions and an extended conversation. This proved that the time to "break the silence" is over. Our generation is ready. Are you?

I use my voice to help our next generation identify their qualities and to embrace their weaknesses. I am the change. I am hope. So are you.

Truly Yours,

Bryson Rouzan-Thomas

The George Washington University '15
The Change Executive Director
Youth Conversations Chair

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