Opening Day has come and gone. The Young Heroes were unveiled to the Manchester community as well as to State Representatives of New Hampshire. Although Senator Ayotte and Senator Shaheen were unable to attend, they had letters read on their behalves. I actually had the privilege of reading Senator Shaheen’s letter to the crowd. I also MC’d the event. It was such a great leadership opportunity that I am very thankful for.
The letters and speakers, such as Hector Urrea from the Manchester Office of Youth Services and Congressman Guinta, really spoke to how much support the program has here in Manchester and the state of New Hampshire. It is not everyday that middle school students actively try to make a difference in their communities and world.
We intentionally had our Opening day on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was the perfect day for a diverse group of young people to pledge to make a difference in their communities and the lives of others. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”
During the Young Heroes’ “Reflection Period” we asked the kids what they could do individually to help keep Dr. King’s dream alive. We suggested they try the MLK 25 Challenge. This challenge asks people to take at least 25 actions during the year of 2011 to make a difference for others and strengthen our communities.
A good number of actions will take place on Saturdays with the Young Heroes Program, but we challenged them to do other great things outside of the program. When the Young Heroes program ends, we would like to see them continuing to hold true to what they say every time they recite the Young Heroes Pledge, “To do my best to make a difference; and help to build a stronger community for all of us.” They also shout,
I AM A YOUNG HERO!
I WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
I challenge the readers of this to try the MLK 25 challenge. I see it as a great way for us to keep Dr. King’s dream alive!
Here are some media pieces that recognized the Young Heroes Program that day: