Where do I begin? Ok, I’ll start here… I’ve had this idea brewing in my head for a few years now. I realized that I wanted to help kids to figure out what they could do with themselves when they graduate high school, or even if they’re out of school. Actually anyone if I really think about it. So that they can find a job or career that they friggin loved so that they wouldn’t live for Fridays and then dread Sundays because they knew they had to go back to work on Monday.
Working at a high school I realized that too many people who are supposed to be looking out for the best choices of kids just weren’t there for them. They often just had way too much on their plate already to make a real connection with the kids in their caseload or their classes, or within their authority. Oftentimes the best way to guide them, in the least amount of time, was to guide them toward the most traveled route, which was college. Legit reason why the college dropout rate is close to 50%. (That’s a rant for another day, so stay tuned.)
Besides, let’s face it, high schools gotta look good if they want to appear successful. And what better way than get their graduation rates and college application rates as high as possible. Doesn’t matter if the student has no idea what they want to do since undeclared is so common… they’ll figure it out at some point. And that some point would be well past when their school will be responsible for guiding them. The student will have graduated and moved on to become someone else’s responsibility. Or they’d be an adult, so they’d have to figure it out. The school’s numbers would up… got another one out the door with some form of diploma so add that to the school’s graduation rate. And got another one to apply to college. Boom. Success. Add that one to the positive stats too. If he or she ends up dropping out of college, well that sucks. That wasn’t the plan, but it happens. Unemployed or underemployed once they graduate with that ridiculously expensive 4 year degree? They’ll figure it out. That sucks too, but there are 100s, if not thousands, of more kids that are on deck that need to graduate high school. It’s their turn. And there’s way too much paperwork, and new initiatives, and blah blah blah that the school district is pushing down the faculty’s throats to get done.
Before anyone gets freaked out that I’m badmouthing everyone in education, I’m not. I know that there are many, many, MANY people who are actively engaged in the success of the kids that they work with, both professionally and personally. Passionate people that invest their heart and soul into helping even just one kid find their way. They get it when a kid is totally discouraged because they’re lost and confused and scared about their future. Being able, and willing, to give them the hope and direction to take control of their destiny… that’s an amazing gift.
That’s why I started this journey to build this website Bhlue.com. Who doesn’t love giving gifts. I want to give kids the gift of empowerment. It was kind of selfish, I’ll admit it. At the high school I worked at I was most often referred the kids who were disengaged from school. They’d sometimes legit come into my office and give me the yes/no/I dunno treatment. All slouchy and annoyed that they had to listen to another talking head telling them what they needed to do. But that’s not how I work. I chat. And chat chat chat chat chat. I’d finally get them to have a conversation because I’d be asking about them, like we were out somewhere just, you know, chatting. That’s when I’d get the most valuable information from them. That’s when I’d start getting ridiculously pumped up and shoot out job ideas and how to make them happen. Excitement is contagious. Next thing you know, they’re sitting forward in their seat, we’re eye to eye talking. We make some plans, I give them some “homework” to get started taking the first steps and bang… out the door with a plan. No longer a fear of the unknown because let’s face it, fear causes many of us to freeze. Most often the kids who are identified as unmotivated and disengaged are just afraid, but they’re not going to admit that. They’re afraid of not being able to find a job, not being able to make money, not making the right choices, disappointing other people, being a failure, how they’re perceived by other people…. The list is endless.
Oh yeah, so back to why it was kind of selfish. When I met with kids who came into my office all slouchy, or cocky, or talking in monosyllables … and by the time they were ready to leave we were friends, they were leaning forward, we were having a conversation. Let me tell you that is a high like you can’t imagine. That puts wings on your feet. That’s why I’m building Bhlue. It’s a journey, but I know it will be worth it. Even if I help just one “starfish” to find success, that’s a win. It’s a win for them, their family, their future children, their legacy. I’m all in.