That’s All I Need..

Be kind for everyone you meet - ancient Greek philosopher Socrates quote printed on image of hahds with heart

YouthSpeak programs are all driven by the philosophy that inspirational personal stories can inspire change. Our youth speakers always share a message about asking for help and to encouraging others to reach out to someone who needs it.

Grade 10 student…

“A speaker from YouthSpeak spoke to me on a day I was planning to kill myself. He noticed that I seemed alone and I told him… I have no friends within this school, the only person I’m able to talk to is my therapist, and then I told him my story. I told him many things that I had struggled with in the past. He felt sorry for me, and then later on that day some girls that we a part of the assembly approached me while I was walking alone in the halls, they told me they noticed I was always alone and they knew I needed a friend. At first I didn’t understand why they cared, but eventually it hit me… Maybe the world isn’t full of negativity, maybe there ARE some good people in this world. I turned my life around after that… I attempted to seek help. I wasn’t successful at first but I kept trying, whenever I felt like dying I asked myself what that guy from YouthSpeak and those girls would think, how they would feel. It motivated me to stop my self-destructive ways, or at least do it less often…I surrounded myself with positive people. I still don’t have many friends, but I have people that love me, and in my opinion, that’s all I need. “

Youth Speaker…

“I was in the gym at a school just about to do a speak, my sisters came to watch. One of them noticed a boy sitting all by himself and suggested I go talk with him. I introduced myself, he was receptive but his energy seemed low – he spoke slowly and softly. After speaking for a bit he told me he did not have one friend in the school, this was very hard for me to hear. Everyone needs at least one person they can call a friend. We talked for a bit longer then I told him I had to go on stage to do my speech but to please stick around afterwards so we could talk some more. I challenged him to find a way to get a friend. Just throw yourself out there, take a risk. What have you got to lose? After him and I were done speaking, a gr.12 student approached me and asked me if he was ok and I explained how I felt for him. I wanted to do more.  It saddened me to think that I will never see him again nor to know how he is doing. So I prayed that night. I prayed that someone would simply acknowledge his existence. And furthermore, that he would find someone he could call a friend. I couldn’t imagine going through 4 years of high school without a friend or at the least, someone just saying hi to me in the hallways. What a lonely feeling that must be.”

Never underestimate the power a small gesture can make…in a moment…to one person. The following story is a testament on how we may never know the impact we could have on someone when we use our voice to give hope and inspire change. Fortunately, on this occasion we were privileged to know. The universe created an opportunity for this youth speaker to run into this same student several months after our visit to his school. This student has now applied to become a youth speaker in order to pay it forward by sharing his personal experiences and challenges…and so on and so on and so on.