February 23, 2009
Posted: 11:20 AM 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. In early August the group traveled to South Africa with Compton-Rock and CNN Anchor Soledad O’Brien. Since returning to the U.S., they’ve been hosting fundraisers and doing community service projects as "Global Ambassadors" for "Journey for Change." In March, Compton-Rock took the group to see the Oscar winning film, Slumdog Millionaire. She also asked the kids to blog about where they see themselves in the future. In July, the group’s journey will be featured in Black in America 2, a CNN Presents documentary hosted by Soledad O’Brien.
Journey for Change team, August 2008 in South Africa
Five years from now I will be 18 heading on to college. What my plan is to do is to finish up junior high, reach my goal of going to Townsend Harris High School or to Stuyvesant High School. Then I want to go to Temple University or even better. With participating in this program and excelling in school I want to reach my dreams and even go beyond. I know I could do it but it requires a bunch of hard effort from my self and sacrificing time for studying. If God sends me a message that I will make it, I will be willing to do it to pursue my dreams. After college I want to work in the medical field or in the law field and actually have a passion for it.
-Sydney Smart, 13
In five years I see myself in a specialized high school. Not just any specialized high school, but an engineering high school. I am also going to have very high grades and keep them up. I also see myself with a crazy, hot, cherry red car. In ten years I see myself in college with a beautiful girlfriend and a good education. I also see Malaak writing me a recommendation to get into the college. I would tell you what two schools I'm going to attend, but I'm not sure yet.
-Albert Brunn III, 12
In five years I see myself graduating from Clara Barton High School with a GPA of 90 and above. Then I see myself going to college to be a Registered Nurse. The colleges that I would like to attend are Spellman, Farmingdale, Harvard, Howard and Hunter College. This means that I have to work very hard and stay on task. After I graduate college with a nursing degree, I will get a job working in a hospital and in my spare time I will volunteer at the Salvation Army.
In ten years I see myself moving up in the medical field, and being a mentor to the upcoming Journey for Change kids. I will speak out to the community about the importance of staying in school and achieving your goals because knowledge is the key part of life and without knowledge you have nothing. I will help to guide them in being respectful and generous to everyone.
-Jenee Lawson, 15
I will be in college in five years studying culinary arts and business. In ten years, I will be running my own restaurant and starting a family hopefully living in the suburbs. I want four kids and to travel the world. I want to take my family to Hawaii. I will do an open kitchen at my restaurant every Friday night and people who are hungry can come and eat.
-Wayne Phillips, 15
In five years I will be a junior in college majoring in pre-law. I will be playing college ball and hanging out with my future girlfriend. I will volunteer at the Salvation Army in my spare time. And I will come back to Brooklyn to say hi and check on everyone. In ten years, I will be playing in the NBA, married with kids and living a low-key life. I will teach my kids not to make the same mistakes that I have. I want a close family.
-Jeremy Baker, 15
Five years from now I will be 20 years old and half way through college. I would love to go to Howard University so I am working hard to bring my grades up. I enjoy traveling and volunteering so I will probably continue to travel across the nation and internationally in service for others. I don't think I will ever stop volunteering my time, talents and service for others. Who knows I may become an activist for human rights, especially after seeing Slumdog Millionaire!
-Joshua Hall, 15
In five years I will have graduated from college and will be working as a fashion stylist. I will still volunteer giving my time to people who need it. In ten years, I will be living in Los Angeles, CA, married with kids, and working on great projects.
-Yolaine Calixte, 17
Omg!!! Slumdog Millionaire was an amazing movie. I loved it. I didn't know that the poverty was so bad in India. It's amazing what you can learn from a movie huh!? I was amazed at how all those children who played slumdogs in the movie were actually slumdogs. Like after the movie you would think they would have all the fame right in hotels and stuff. No, they're back in the slums. The way those children are treated! They do not deserve to be treated in this matter. It was very devastating to watch this movie because of everything that was happening. This is an amazing movie if you haven't seen this movie I don't know what you are waiting for because this movie is breathtakingly outstanding.
Love ~N~ Peace
-Mariah C. Ralph, 13
Slumdog Millionaire was sad because I started to feel their pain and put myself in their shoes. I cried. I was able to see how people live and it made me appreciative and thankful. Though the brother treated his brother wrong, he died for him so he could be with the girl he wanted.
-Sadara Lewis, 13
Slumdog Millionaire was inspiring because the main character was eager and anxious to find the girl that he loved. He stayed true to her and did not deviate from his mission until he saved her. I found the poverty very similar to South Africa, but the bathroom situation was different because they had to pay to use the toilets in the Mumbai slums.
-Donovan Rodgers, 14
Slumdog Millionaire was interesting because it had a lot of ups and downs. The two boys were together their whole life and saw a lot of things. And then one was in love and never stopped thinking of the girl. The poverty was really bad and striking and shocking. It was similar in South Africa but I think it was even worse, which is really bad.
-Jonathan Severe, 14
I thought Slumdog Millionaire was a good movie because it taught a lesson about being grateful for what you have because in other countries they don't have anything. I liked when the flashbacks happened so we were able to see the past. The main character didn't forget anything. We should be helping more countries with their poverty.
-Laura DiFilippi, 13
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