Ang* is one of those teenagers caught in-between. Of her closest friends, one or two have always been the star students determined to break out of their small town mold. Some others have flirted the line of disaster and, through their influence, threaten to pull Ang with them. Through her life, Ang has fought physical difficulties and learning challenges. She has big dreams, but she is also temperamental and craves acceptance. In a world of privilege, her bad choices might just lead to a scolding or two. In her world, it can mean the difference between ultimate success and falling through the cracks entirely.
Her most recent challenge came when she decided her current school was not engaging her. She felt disconnected and unable to keep up with her classes. She wanted to try a new school and asked SOLD staff to help. While staff advised her that switching schools would mean a setback (time lost, and she would have to repeat a grade), she felt this other school would be a better fit. So she submitted an application.
At first, she wasn’t accepted into the new school, but then she got a second call back. The school said they wanted to meet with her and that she should bring her mother too. Of course, Ang was excited about this renewed opportunity. But then it turned out, for reasons that are unclear, that her mother would not go with her. In a panic, Ang called SOLD staff and tried to get her mentor to come to the school with her. But her mentor was unavailable too. However, her mentor advised her to be patient, to try again with her mother, and that her mentor would also talk with her mother to convince her to go.
In situations like these, Ang would normally act out in temper. But she surprised everyone by choosing to act maturely and responsibly. Instead of lashing out or giving up, she remained patient and calm, and in the end was able to get her interview—and her acceptance into her new school. She now can attend the school at which she feels most comfortable and participates in classes she likes.
This is just one example in just one student’s life of how tenuous the line is between success and tragedy. How an entire trajectory can rest on one person’s whims, even one you would think would act out of the best interests. However, this story also shows how one person can rise above challenges—even those of her personality, in how she can learn to school her temper—and begin to build a foundation for her strength of character. This one success does not mean she will never meet another challenge. But it does mean that when she faces the next challenge, she has this experience to call upon, to remind her that if she wants something enough, she has right there inside her the resourcefulness and determination to make it happen.
*Name changed for privacy.
The SOLD Project’s success in prevention depends on our ability to remain in close contact with our students, to be there to help them when they encounter difficulty, and to advise and guide them. To do so, we NEED to be where they are; and as our students get older, this means we need to be in the city. Please help us build a second Resource Center so that we can expand our operations there. To contribute to our expansion, please visit our Global giving page HERE.