Opportunities by Amanda Lilly When people pass me on the street they see a young, beautiful, caucasian woman with confidence that could silence a room. What they don’t see is […]
Opportunities by Amanda Lilly
When people pass me on the street they see a young, beautiful, caucasian woman with confidence that could silence a room. What they don’t see is the experiences I have faced to become this person. As a child I grew up in a house that never felt like home. My father verbally, emotionally, and on the occasion physically abused my siblings, my mother, and I. I never felt safe in my house, I was always on edge waiting for my dad’s rage to explode unexpectedly. But I was always given an opportunity to escape. In elementary and middle school, all my friends lived in the same neighborhood as I and was always at their houses. In high school it was sports and jobs that kept me away from my home. Each stage of my life I was presented with an opportunity that would lead me to the next to help me out of the situation I was in, and in each stage I developed as a person and learned more to further myself. My senior year of high school I was presented with the opportunity to go to college. My choices were between a school in Texas (where I am from) or a school on the other side of the country, in Cleveland, Ohio. It was a very tough decision for me to make, but I knew I needed to get away from my family environment and so I chose to come to CWRU. As I look back at my decision and all the decisions that have gotten me to where I am today I notice a few things. I notice without having people outside my family to show me the opportunities I could take I would have never known about them. I noticed that had I never taken these opportunities, I could have ended up as a druggie or an alcoholic or as a very young mother. I noticed that these opportunities have probably saved me in more ways than I can explain.
And so because I was blessed with these opportunities that changed my life, and those of you reading this may also be blessed in many ways, it is our job to give back. It is our job to help children understand that the circumstances they are in do not define them. It is our job to seek out opportunities for these children and present it to them. And it is our job to encourage them to take the opportunities that stand before them and support them when they struggle with the doubts of who they are and if they deserve this. No child should live in a home where they don’t feel safe. A home is supposed to be a safe place to be vulnerable, learn who you are, and share life with those you love. Children deserve to take back their lives and define it for themselves. They are our future and they deserve our time and love. This is why I am so thankful to have found EYEJ, where their mission is to give the youth their voices back.
Case Western Reserve University Student