SAVE OUR NEXT GENERATION INC.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Passion is a feeling of intense enthusiasm towards or compelling desire for someone or something. Passion can range from eager interest in or admiration for an idea, proposal, or cause; to enthusiastic enjoyment of an interest or activity; to strong attraction, excitement, or emotion towards a person. I have often heard the phrase; I've found my passion. But how does one find his or her passion or even know if it's true?
In late November of 2017, I was inspired to organize an Anti-Bullying Rally after learning about a string of bully-related suicides among children throughout our Nation. This was not the first time that I had heard of these heartbreaking tragedies, but this time was quite different! I found myself drawn to their sufferings and could not understand the sudden intrigue. I can recall one day staring up at the sky from my office window asking God...what could I possibly do to make a difference? My immediate thought was-there's nothing I could do, except to pray. So, I prayed for the victims’ families while praying for God to use me in some way to help. A few days later, I was still waiting and asking...what can I do? But my prayers were not being answered fast enough, or so I thought! Therefore, I came up with an idea of my own to get things moving along which went nowhere. At this point, I was feeling pretty anxious as if I was running out of time. But at the same time, I felt just as determined not to give up. It was the strangest feeling I ever experienced. I asked again, what can I do? Lord... if there is something I can do, please show me a sign! I heard a quiet voice inside saying be patient. While patience is not a strong suit, I decided to settle down and wait to hear from God. After weeks of waiting with much anticipation, I awoke from my sleep one morning with a vision to have an Anti-Bullying Rally. What? This is crazy because I know nothing about organizing a rally! Feeling uncertain about the vision, I proceeded with planning the event with the help of my family and a supportive friend.
One Sunday morning while getting dressed for church, I received an unexpected call from a friend saying that God had given her a song to write for the victims of bullying. She asked if she could sing the song as well. I laughed surprisingly saying... I didn't know you could sing! But I gladly accepted her offer. As the date drew closer for the rally, I started feeling uneasy because as quiet as it’s kept, I have a fear of speaking in front of large crowds. So, my plan was to just get someone else to do all the talking while I smiled and waved from the background. But God had other plans to deal with my stage fright. I had a testimony that I wanted to share with the church congregation for months concerning a miraculous healing received for a serious illness, but I was reluctant to do so for obvious reasons. Two weeks prior to the rally, I felt compelled to give my testimony one particular morning at church. It was hilarious because I jokingly tried to get my Pastor to share it for me instead. Shortly, after giving my testimony, I realized that God was preparing me with the courage needed to take the stage for the upcoming event.
The weather forecast was predicted to be freezing cold and raining the day of the event. I attempted to cancel several times, but just could not bring myself to do it-even with folks urging me to reschedule. The rally took place as scheduled with approximately 60 guests. The rain came as expected but slacked up after a short prayer by some that were in attendance. As I was driving away from the venue after the rally ended, I felt an urge to roll down my window and look towards the sky. Immediately, I saw the sun slowly coming through a cloud shining brightly. I could even feel the sun’s warmth on my face. I chuckled and thought to myself, so now the sun comes out! But just as quickly as the sun came-it left just as abruptly leaving me mystified. As I continued driving and talking with the event MC-I commented the crowd was not as big as I had hoped. And, just as I said those very words, a quiet voice inside said-it’s not about how many people attended. My thoughts quickly reverted back to what I had just witnessed moments before. My obedience and faith had been tested! I knew without a doubt that the encounter was a wink of approval from God! While the rally was nice and informative, I felt there was still much more to be done. Meanwhile, I started researching as to why children/youth bully. I also wanted to learn more about helping not only victims of bullying, but their aggressors as well. As I was going through this process, I started to remember that I have always been an upstander. I often stood up for my siblings, friends and students I didn’t even know. I was often bullied at school because I was taller than most kids and very skinny. However, I could physically defend myself. I ignored the insults, but it still hurt to be called names. But what about our children/youth that feel they can't defend themselves? What about the ones that are left feeling humiliated, scared, hopeless and alone? They feel there's no way out from the person(s) tormenting them. However, with the help and support of our parents, school staff and our communities, I believe we can make an incredible impact on eradicating bullying. To show my commitment to this cause, I decided to move forward in starting a nonprofit organization. This would also require a very special name for the organization. One evening, while reading the book of Psalm, I took pause for a moment to think about a name. I was thinking of flipping through the Bible in hopes of finding something that stood out. But there it was leaping out before me “Psalm.” I quickly grabbed a pen and pad to write it down for memory, but instead I wrote the word “SONG.” Within seconds before I could even ponder what I had written “SAVE OUR NEXT GENERATION” was magically rolling off my tongue. A very special name for an organization that’s destined to bring about change for generations to come. It took quite a bit of stopping and going before the non-profit organization was completed. But I never lost sight of a God given vision. Some may ask...why take on such a challenge?
My Answer: Passion has found me, and I answered its call!!
Thank you, Charlene Stevens Jenkins, for such a beautiful song "Be Nice Save A Life." You are a Blessing with a heart to serve! A special thank you to my beautiful family and friend Paulette Mcrae for your support. God is so AMAZINGLY AWESOME!!!
According to the National Education Association, there are over 200,000 kids that refuse to go to school each day for fear of being bullied. Statistics suggest that revenge due to bullying is the number one motivator for school shootings in the US. Nearly 75% of school shootings have been linked to harassment and bullying. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a strong link between bullying and suicide, as suggested by recent related suicides in the US and other countries. According to studies by Yale University, bully-victims are between 2-9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims. Nearly 1 in 5 students report being bullied during school, impacting over 5 million youth annually according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Bullying statistics are at an alarming rate and warrants serious actions!