We know that our city and our society are not always kind to children, especially children of color. We know the lure of gangs, drugs, and crime, as well as the malaise and lack of hope some children feel as they struggle in school and let opportunities pass them by. Popular culture, with its materialism, present orientation, and glorification of cynicism and self interest, is often viewed as a principal culprit.
One of the key elements of any youth intervention program is a means to reach kids where they are. You have been able to stand popular culture on its head and use it as a vehicle for civic engagement and personal development. We have been intrigued and delighted to hear how you don superhero costumes and conduct sessions with at-risk kids involving contests and discussions of heroic concepts. You have been able to teach literacy and violence prevention in an easily accessible format. Most important, you are serving as great role models for these young people.
The success of this approach is being demonstrated by the growth and support your work is experiencing here and in several other states.
This is just the kind of work that the Sullivan Ballou Fund seeks to recognize and affirm—effort on behalf of others that comes straight from the heart, without thought of personal recognition or reward. And it is even better if doing so is fun!
You have our best wishes for this work. We look forward to the contributions that will be made by the young people you are guiding and supporting. Please stay in touch in the months ahead. We would love to hear how your work is progressing and any thoughts you have about the effect of this award.
Elissa and Bruce Peterson, Founding Members