Recognition Weekend

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Ayman Mohyeldin, NBC Journalist, serves as the Master of Ceremonies for the National Campaign’s 20th anniversary Gala dinner.

It would be easy for the Kuwait-America Foundation to say a lot of things that it doesn’t mean. It’s a simple task to ensure that the Chairman always mentioned the students as ambassadors and for the MC of important galas to label them the “most important people here” and “the reason we do this”. We could sponsor a program called the National Campaign to Stop Violence and gain so much attention from our noble act that we get hip-hop legend Common to be the keynote speaker at our gala.  The Kuwait-America Foundation could hide behind the glitz and glamour, but we don’t. My experience working with the winners and Student Ambassadors of the Do the Write Thing contest cemented my confidence in that even more firmly. I realized that the kids are genuinely the driving force behind everything we do and that their recognition week and our campaign would be nothing without them. One can get caught in all of the busy work it takes to make sure everything goes perfectly. Yet when you finally see the restless and excited faces of teachers, coordinators, chairs, and students, your spirit begins to wake up.  Your spirit is even more awakened when an esteemed chairman labels the kids as the “voices for our cause” and it turns out to be true. For about two hours I led the ambassadors from Chicago and their families around to meet staff members of their Congressmen and Senator Dick Durbin. I hardly said a word as both of the students spent most of the time telling vivid stories of their experiences with violence and relentlessly demanding solutions. It’s easy to think that these kids just write these essays as a school assignment or for the perk of going to Washington D.C. Standing in the background that day, however, made me realize that these kids go through far too much and that they genuinely do want to be the spearheads of the non-violence movement. I’m glad to be back. I’m glad to be able to experience this from a vastly different perspective. Most of all I’m glad to have my hope renewed during such a dark and difficult summer for many of my friends and family. We must continue to guide them and put in the work to make sure they have an abundance of opportunities to be successful. Because I needed those kids this weekend. I realized that we go hand in hand. We need them just as much as they need us.

 

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Recognition Weekend

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