I Give Because Someone Gave to Me.
Obstacles to me are nothing more than opportunities. Life is filled with obstacles. Every obstacle that came my way always taught me a lesson or two… or more. Depends on what obstacle was dealt to me that day.
See…I learned at an early age that nothing in life comes easy. I have a moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears. My family did not receive confirmation of my hearing loss until I was in pre-school. Yes, I was faced with road blocks but that didn’t mean it was the end of the world for me. I just had to try harder, work harder, and fight harder. Just because I can’t hear doesn’t mean I am dumb, stupid or deaf. I’m just “hard of hearing”.
I was told numerous times by teachers, doctors and others who really didn’t know me that I wouldn’t live a “normal” life. What is “normal”? Who gave you permission to tell me what is normal or not normal. The way I live in the world with my hearing loss is my normal. My normal maybe different from your normal but it is my normal.
Tie and Doll's mission is 'Mentoring youth to build their self-esteem and empower them to lead courageously, give generously, and enrich themselves culturally so that they can make intelligent choices and be positive influences in their respective communities.'
I wanted to find a way to inspire and encourage the youth in Montgomery, Alabama that anything is possible. I wanted the youth to know that he or she is not alone in the obstacles they are faced with. I just knew that I would be the one to teach the youth something but the youth ended up teaching me some important lessons.
In 2010, I had an opportunity to speak to a group of 20 young men in grades 6-8. I was shocked to see that only 3 of them knew how to tie a neck tie. I assumed it was something that young men learned how to do like tying their shoes. Majority of them did not own a neck tie. In addition to this, I found out that I had grown men that I knew that didn't know how to tie a neck tie and had to get someone to tie their neck tie for them. I was speechless. Now it makes sense why these young men didn't know how to tie a neck tie because of the lack of male figures or the male figures in their life didn't know how to tie a necktie.
Anybody that own neck ties or purchased neck ties as a gift knows that it can be pricey. I presented a challenge on social media such as Facebook and Twitter challenging family, friends and strangers to donate new or used neck ties to give to young. I received overwhelming positive response to my challenge and collected over 100 neckties.
Every year, Tie and Doll presents a Spring and Fall workshop to teach young men how to dress for success, and make responsible choices that will prepare them for the real world. I take the donated neck ties collected from the community and give them to the young men that attend the workshops. For many of them, this is the first time they learn how to tie knots such as four-in-hand knot, trinity knot or Windsor knot. At the end of the workshop, every young men get to take home the neck tie. For many of them, it is their first neck tie.
For every neck tie that I donate to the young men, I am proud to know that I am giving them something just like someone gave to me. I pray that when the young men get older, they will look at this moment and be inspired to give back to young men and teach them how to tie a neck tie. A neck tie is a small piece of clothing but it makes a big statement when someone sees a young man wear their neck tie proudly. I am proud to give to Tie and Doll because I get a chance to let these young men know that every obstacle or challenge that come their way will make them be more determine and stronger in pursuing their dreams.
Being able to share my obstacles with them allows me to show how I turned my obstacles into opportunities that will bring joy to not only me but to those who are impacted by my drive.
This is why I give unselfishly. This is why I thank my support team for molding me into who I am today. This is #MyGivingStory.
Review from #MyGivingStory