I was privileged to speak at the Urban Youth Collaborative Program (UYCP) Gala, at The Log Cabin on August 22, 2013.
Family members of my late Executive Director attended the Gala, because an award was being presented in his honor.
At the end of my presentation, I received a thunderous applause by attendees. I also received double thumbs-up, a contagious smile and a strong hug by the inspirational leader who has led this program for 22 years. Then the son of my late Executive Director crossed the room, gave me a hug and thanked me. I was so deeply humbled.
Here are a few selections from that speech: David was a humble man, who would often send me out to speak for him. As my mentor, he would want me to share: What a beautiful day it is for the 22nd Gala! Looking back, I was privileged to be present for 18 Gala’s. I can’t make this one, but my thoughts are with you.
You know what’s special about the UYCP? You are! Yes, you make UYCP special! You have dedicated your time and talent to make life a little better for yourself; and for the children and adults you have worked with. Thank you!
You transform our community. Your voices bring excitement and joy!
As a mentor, the songs you sing, the games you play, the skits you perform, the art classes, the swings and slides and rock climbing, even the sound system blaring away – all bring new life and excitement to the area. It is really special.
I closed the speech with – The Urban Youth Collaborative Program is a vital workforce leadership development program across the State of MA. This program is vital in making a difference in lives of the people we serve. Some day maybe it will be a National program, but for now it is making a difference in our community.
To continue moving forward, we have to look inward, before we can look outward and make lasting change.
If you don’t think there is a need for such a program in our community then I invite you to share your thoughts with me after the Gala.
Together we are a kaleidoscope of humanity building on our collective experiences, perspectives, and cultures to ensure the best possible thinking, ideas, opportunities and solutions are considered as we work to provide quality services for every member of our shared community, including those with developmental disabilities and behavioral issues.
Why is the Urban Youth Collaborative Program so important? You are the next generation of community leaders!
I will leave you with a quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou