Recently, I provided comment to a CNN story that followed up on President Barack Obama’s announcement of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. During the announcement, he stated that when he met the young men of the “Becoming a Man” program, he shared his story (including drug use) and admitted that he had made bad choices. The focus of the CNN story was would you share stories of your past with your children or others.
The program that I spoke of in my comments is the INSPIRE Program of Florence Crittenton. The mission of the Inspire Program is “women INSPIRING the teenage girls of Florence Crittenton through personal stories of life’s overwhelming challenges . . . and eventual triumphs.” The program is a volunteer program that enables women to INSPIRE teen girls who are overcoming issues of abuse, neglect, teen pregnancy, teen parenting and behavioral and/or mental health problems. INSPIRE gives successful and dynamic women the chance to share their personal experiences with overcoming obstacles, developing self-esteem, and achieving goals and dreams. Sharing these stories in a group setting gives the girls a higher level of self-awareness, confidence, character and achievement.
There are many programs out there like Becoming a Man or INSPIRE but honestly, you really don’t need one. You’ve heard it before, tell your own story — no one can tell it better than you. No matter what you’ve done or how bad it was, you survived it… and sharing your story may help someone else survive, or better yet, avoid a negative path all together.