Ah, spring. The sun comes out, the leaves on trees unfurl. Signs of new life can be found in the blooming of crocuses, daffodils and ... phones and mailboxes?
If you have two US coins which total 35 cents and one of them is not a quarter, what are the two coins?
This was one the many lateral thinking questions a group of eight NYC public high school students had to solve while working with us as interns as through the city's Work, Learn & Grow youth employment program. Several times each week, we’ve met (virtually) to hone their skills in marketing, negotiation, collaboration and lateral thinking and exposed them to career opportunities both in nonprofit organizations and in several other industries.
During our time together, I was reminded of the faith in young people that guided our founder, Monsignor John Patrick Carroll-Abbing, when he first began Boys' & Girls' Towns of Italy so many decades ago. It is an invigorating and inspiring thing to be in the presence of a group of young people and see how they apply their energy and innovation to building a better and more equitable world. I would like to use this month's note to thank Amy, Dynasty, Jonathan, Kevin, Malak, Rachel, Vanessa and Weimy for the time and passion they've given to this internship and our mission of providing every child with a chance in life.
At A Chance In Life, we value progress over perfection. We know we can't solve the education gap in every country today - so we work, child by child, to provide schooling and vocational training in the most marginalized communities across the globe. We knew we couldn't help every person affected by the pandemic this year in Ethiopia, India, Latin America and Uganda - but with the support of our donors and partners, we managed to provide emergency food supplies to over 10,000 children and family members.
Every once in awhile, however....it's nice to be perfect!
I am taking over the writing of January's note from our President and Executive Gabriele Delmonaco to share an exciting announcement! I am thrilled to announce that Gabriele was named to the OZY Media 100. We're so proud of his achievement and grateful for the awareness this brings to the issues facing at-risk youth, especially in the midst of the pandemic. This is a testament to not only the hard work of A Chance In Life leadership, but the tireless efforts of our program partners around the world and the many generous donors who make our work possible.
Last week, The New York Times released their "pictures of the year" - the photographs and scenes they felt best encapsulated 2020. A Chance In Life is releasing a few of our own photos of the year today to showcase all that you, our incredible community of supporters, made possible for our young people during a time of uncertainty and hardship.
For November, Gabriele is handing over his monthly note to . . . our young people! They had a lot to say on the occasion of our 75th Anniversary Gala two weeks ago, and we wanted to let them share their stories with all of you.
"Ciao a tutti. My name is Michael, and I am from Rome. I have been here at La Repubblica dei Ragazzi for two years. I made some mistakes in my life and now, thanks be to God, I am doing well thanks to the opportunity you gave me."
You can always look at things in different ways ... just take what happened at one of our programs a month ago.
Our point of view:
Sister Omaira is the director of Hogar Santa Rosa de Lima, a home for 50 girls in Cúcuta, Colombia. She is never late and never misses an appointment. When she didn’t show up for our phone conference call last month, we were worried. When we tried to call her, all our attempts were systematically rejected. This was an important call to discuss next year’s support for her program, and we wondered if she was no longer interested in our partnership.
Sister Omaira’s point of view:
At Hogar Santa Rosa de Lima, there are only five old computers for 50 girls. Only three of them work well, and none of them has a camera. When the girls told Sister Omaira that they had a Zoom meeting with a teacher, she gave them the iPad she uses for international calls so they would not miss the class. She knew the meeting with A Chance In Life was important, and that lending the girls her iPad would mean missing the call … but life is made of priorities.
“Do you want the good news or the bad news first?”
A research study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin states that the answer depends on whether you are the giver or receiver of the bad news. If you are on the receiving end, experiments showed that an overwhelming majority – more than 75 percent – wanted the bad news first. So, I will start with the bad news.