August 20, 2008
Posted: 04:10 PM ET
Editor’s Note: Thirty kids, ages 12 to 16, from Bushwick, Brooklyn, were chosen to participate in “Journey for Change,” a youth empowerment program created by Malaak Compton-Rock. We’ve asked them to share their experiences by blogging about the changes they expect to bring about in others and hope to see in themselves. The group returned to the U.S. on August 13th.
Queen Clyde, 12, proposing the idea of a bake sale to her Journey for Change friends.
When we got back from South Africa I was so excited. We landed in Dulles Airport in Virginia on the 13th of August. It was a long ride up back to New York, N.Y. When we actually got to New York we had a meeting at the Bushwick Salvation Army. The meeting was mainly about how we're going to continue this journey in America.
So there's a shack that burned down in Diepsloot. Malaak wants to rebuild it before the woman who lives there comes out of the hospital. She has burns from her neck down and won't be coming home for a while. So to support her I'm having a bake sale. Its going to be on the 23 of August. All the money we raise will go towards rebuilding the shack.
-Queen Clyde, 12
-Dasia Carr, 12
This trip has made me a better person. Now I am more grateful for what I have and I learned to appreciate all the things that my parents do for me. When I hugged the granny from the house visits she was full of joy. The kids were playing and running around with stickers. I was watching them and saying, ‘WOW I never knew it takes so little to make someone happy.’ I am going to continue to make a difference in people’s lives because I feel that it is the right thing to do.
Leaving Zama and Cornelius (the South Africans who helped to organize the trip) was also sad. They helped us all the time. We should reward them because they are so amazing. Also Malaak, she is so beautiful and caring. If it wasn’t for her none of us would be here and the trip wouldn’t have even started.
-Jenee Lawson, 14
Now I’m in America home of the ‘Free and the Brave,’ ready to fulfill my Global Ambassador Contract, and ready for all the obstacles life throws at me.
Post Script. I really miss my mentor and can’t wait to see her soon and also everyone else.
-Sydney Smart, 12
Sydney Smart, 12, addresses her Journey for Change friends at a meeting in Brooklyn on August 14.
Right now I miss being back in Africa. I feel sad because I left all the kids there. I really want to go back. I wish we could have stayed a little longer. I’m happy to be with my family but I feel like I left another family in Africa because I got so connected to them. I’m excited about the Global Ambassador program because there are a lot more ways I want to serve in the community and globally. I would like to have a clothing drive, and raise money for kids who don’t have a home. There are a lot of ways I’d like to make a difference. Being in Africa changed me a lot. I feel like I wasn’t grateful for what I had. It really changed me.
-Zuliana Burnett, 13
Ever since I got home, my friends and I miss the fun and want to go back to Africa. Unfortunately we spent only two weeks in Africa. I really enjoyed the time we spent with the families we visited and the kids in the orphanage. It was fun experiencing how the culture is and how the school system is compared to what we have here where we live. Before we left Africa, we had farewell ceremonies in Diepsloot and Soweto . It was hard to say goodbye because we will miss everyone we visited. We have drawn close to them and showed them a lot of love. They showed us love as well.
I’m happy to be a Global Ambassador so I can show everyone else my experience and maybe one day they will be able to experience what I have. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to speaking in public even though my nerves get to me.
-Latoya Massie, 14
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