This post needs very little introduction. Our guest writer, Leah Jacobs takes us through her struggles to start her community organization. How does she move from why me to why not me? Read her post to find out. …Thanks Leah for sharing and joining the family!
Why Not Me? by Leah Jacobs
I do not have money or status, what can I really do? Do I really want to do the work? Do I even have the time? I’m too quiet and shy, how will I tell people about this?
But…..Why not me?
These were some of my inner thoughts that I constantly asked myself as I toyed with the idea of starting my organization.
I’d been thinking about taking the leap for years. I researched youth organizations and grants but it was my fear of not having everything in order kept me from pursuing it. I also had the vision, but I did not think I had the personality, status, or money to pull it off. Basically, I racked up a stack of reasons why I could not instead of why I could and should.
Dr. Myles Munroe recently said, “Sight is a function of the eyes, but vision is a function of the heart.” When I heard that quote my ears lit up! I could see what I wanted to do and no matter how much I fought my desire, I could not shake the need to fulfill the vision. I always knew I was called to do something big but it was not until I did some serious soul searching that I discovered what makes me feel accomplished- and keeps me happy. I read, prayed, meditated, and spent some time alone to gain clarity on what my next steps needed to be.
As a result, I realized that I did not need all those things I kept using as excuses. All I needed was the drive and passion that I possessed the entire time!
I took my new found confidence and reached out to the National Mentoring Partnership for help. Director, Linda Stewart, offered me a free consultation and I took it- gratefully. Linda gave me great tips and resources to use as I embarked on my new journey. Next, I pitched the idea for my organization to my family and friends. They were all very supportive and told me that they would be happy to help. Finally in November 2011 the Port Arthur Alumni Community Group was formed!
The Port Arthur Alumni Community Group is a community youth organization that gives alumni of the schools from Port Arthur, Texas the opportunity to give back and become mentors to the youth in the city. It also creates a network of people the students can reach out to ask about college, careers, and life. In January 2012, we began conducting Saturday Sessions; once a month workshops with middle and high school students that expose the students to new ideas, philosophies, arts, and professions. This summer we are hosting our very first community open house and we’ve already started promoting it. The response from the community has been overwhelming. If I didn’t know then, I surely know now that the sky is limit for the impact we are going to make!
The high I get from doing this work is unexplainable. Now that I know what it feels like to have this dream come true, I can’t imagine life without my organization. When its time to plan our next event or when I find out a speaker has confirmed to talk to the kids, I just want to jump up in excitement! Finding it in myself to step outside of my comfort zone was a huge accomplishment! I never imagined being able to form partnerships and find the resources I need to make it all possible- but I did. And the truth is I would not want to be doing anything else.
Giving back to the community that helped to raise me is an honor. Sharing life changing information with its youth has given me new sense of responsibility that I do not take lightly. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to be a change agent in my hometown. But I thank Him more for giving me the courage to answer the question why NOT me?-and not not give up.
Leah Jacobs is a millennial leader from Port Arthur, Texas. She is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University with a B.S. in Health Science-Community Health and holds a Master of Science in Health Promotion from Lamar University. She is passionate about health and wellness and youth. In addition to managing Port Arthur Alumni Community Group, she is a proud mentor with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America. Follow PAACG on twitter and Like them on Facebook!