Oh, give me a home
Where the Buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard
A discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
–“Home on the Range” Lyrics: Dr. Brewster M. Higley, Music Daniel E. Kelley.
I love that lyric. Must have been all those Westerns I watched as a little girl that instilled that dreamy longing in me for a place where the sun always shines. Can’t you just imagine how wonderful it would be to never hear a discouraging word?
Well, if you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you know I’m an incurable optimist always seeking the silver lining in the darkest clouds. Some weeks it’s harder to accomplish than others. I finished reading J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy last week, and while the author is an example of the power of hard work and perseverance, his book left me a bit despairing. The senseless bombing at the Ariana Grande concert this past week also left me feeling –well– quite frankly discouraged.
But then I read about Keren Taylor, founder of WriteGirl, a Los Angeles based nonprofit that connects teenage girls with mentors to empower girls to express themselves in whatever genre suits them–poetry, journals, screenwriting, playwriting, etc. The goal is to provide support for girls through whatever problems or challenges they are facing.
Taylor says, “There might be a storm raging, but we are here to be fierce protectors of these young women and their future. It’s not easy but sure feels good.”
Writegirl has a 100% success rate in getting girls to apply to college. That is an amazing statistic. Best of all, the program is expanding to include boys and is even reaching out to correctional facilities. Again, it may be the Pollyanna in me, but I don’t see how anything but good can come of this. [For more information: http://www.writegirl.org/keren-taylor/]
Then yesterday I read about the remarkable singer-songwriter, rapper, record and film producer, Pharell Williams, and his commencement speech at NYU. He said:
“This is the first generation that navigates the world with the security and confidence to treat women as equal. You are the first ever. Our country has never seen this before. It makes some people uncomfortable. But just imagine the possibilities.”
And just this morning, The Greenville News reported that the Nicholtown Presbyterian Church, a predominantly black congregation in Greenville, received $2,000 and a letter in their mailbox last week. The donor wrote there were two reasons for the bequest. “First, I am white and used to be a terrible racist…” The donation signified a “heartfelt apology to the African American community.” The second reason ? To show that “miracles, just as in Biblical times, still happen today…” Encouraging words, indeed