Nicky's Blog

Once an Aspirante, Always an Aspirante | January 27, 2011

With the trend of communities mobilizing on the internet, it’s a rare and beautiful sight to see a large presence of people congregating in person. As a volunteer for Aspira of NY’s Annual City Youth Conference, I witnessed these powerful human moments at work. I left the event mesmerized by the energy of 600 people in one room promoting one cause.

Whoever conceived of the expression “children are the leaders of tomorrow” got it almost right; swap “tomorrow” with “today” and they would have hit the nail on its head. Aspira exemplifies this idea that it is never too early to tap into young people’s unique leadership strengths.

The formula for leadership is wisdom plus knowledge plus strategy. Aspira provides the strategy and its members acquire (and bring) the wisdom and knowledge. Aspira has been promoting its educational goals for decades, helping new and old generations realize their ambitions.

As an Aspirante , I benefited from its college-prep resources, including an especially practical SAT prep course that helped me get admitted into one of the top 25 private colleges in the nation. The course, I should mention, was free of charge to me. Over ten years later, I still recall my instructor, Adam Benson, who used humor as his magic wand to entice students to stay plugged in. If someone were to open the classroom door we would be inside roaring with laughter, as we attempted to solve the next math problem.

I also gained intangible skills as a public speaker and relationship-builder that transcend time and place, making them useful for the rest of my life.

By the time Aspirantes graduate from high school, they have engaged in critical life-serving experiences that put them at a competitive advantage over their peers.

Volunteering at Aspira’s Youth Conference as a young professional reminded me how significant a role the organization played in my formative years. It gave me the social confidence to see Impossible as I’m Possible, and to subtract ‘can’t’ from my vocabulary.

Social confidence, or its absence, is not to be overlooked as a powerful cause for why people don’t amount to their hopes. Many people are capable but shy away from the testing grounds, fearing that they just aren’t “enough”.

Looking around me, I saw social confidence beginning to surface in the eyes of the young people with whom I spoke. I saw my former face in theirs.

At their core, they have much to offer the world, but may not know it yet or not know it with unyielding conviction.

Many of these young people come from under-served backgrounds and are weakened by discrimination and prejudice, all of which can easily deafen one’s own cheering inner voice. However, with Aspira’s nurturing, their core values will gradually swell until they’re overflowing with belief in themselves as positive contributors to the world they live in.

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About author

A lover of people, the arts, parks, curiosity, spontaneity, altruism, self-exploration, and story telling. I believe in living your life nakedly and on fire. I am one of triplets: I have two sisters running about in the city coping my look. If you see "me", think twice. Much of my writing is inspired by my daily happenings. Much of it is also closely connected to my years at Bates College. This blog is for anyone looking for inspiring insights and stories.

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