When asked about the Passion 4 Youth Art Program, I generally find myself bragging about the youth I work with, and going on and on about how amazing they are.
What I notice, however, is that people are more interested in talking about the “results” of the program, rather than the youth themselves. “How many have gotten off the streets?” and “How many have stopped using drugs?” are questions that I hear all the time. Of course these are valid questions. After all, the program is effective and the results are encouraging. But if you focus on the numbers and results, you are really not getting a sense of what the program is.
It is a place where youth come together to share a meal, to create art, and to be among friends. It is also a place where the youth can come exactly as they are…sometimes this means they are high, desperate, angry…whatever. They are always welcome at the art group.
When I find myself focusing too much on the numbers and results, I remind myself that it is not about the results at all. Because even if I could see into the future and see that these youth were going to end up staying on the streets despite all efforts, I would still run the art group with the hope that they would feel love and acceptance for exactly who they are.