Following is one of several transformations we witnessed demonstrating that the emPOWERment project is a powerful catalyst for personal growth and change. Respect and Manners at School and Work is truly turning young lives around.
Nash (not his real name) was a student with a troubled past and a tumultuous present. A reluctant EP participant, to say the least, Nash walked out of the first class, mumbling decidedly disrespectful comments about our program. He was no better the next session, and we were told what a troublemaker he was in all his classes.
During the third session, one of the empowerment facilitators followed him out of the room when he “escaped,” and they had a long talk. Quickly they developed such excellent rapport that the facilitator became Nash’s mentor.
From then on, Nash was pleasant and helpful during the Respect and Manners classes—so much so that he was selected to lead the students in the receiving line at the Metropolitan Community College luncheon. At first, he said no, claiming that he was too shy.
The Friday before the luncheon, we learned that Nash would be unable to attend due to missed homework in several classes. On Monday, we discovered that he had made up 30 assignments over the weekend so that he could go with his class to the luncheon. Nash accepted the honor of leading his class through the receiving line. Pride showed in his stance and demeanor... and we were so proud of him.
A few years after this inspiring experience, the school principal told us that Nash had returned every semester ever since to show her his report card—all As and Bs!