“Tell me about a time you made a mistake.”
Every young person has been asked this question in a job interview. After all, what better way to assess someone’s work ethic, perseverance and self-reflection than hearing how they learn from failure or just life’s challenges?
Ask any seasoned academic, entrepreneur or parent and they will tell you mistakes were invaluable to their personal development and ultimate success. Yet, despite our society’s theoretical value of resilience, when it comes to justice-involved youth, we undervalue the growth and insight that result from overcoming adversity.
Approximately 30 teenagers are housed at the St. Louis Juvenile Detention Center at any given time. And whether it was in my role as a volunteer there for four years, or now as an AmeriCorps VISTA with ServiceWorks STL, every session I spend at the center continues to leave me surprised and humbled by the young men’s underappreciated assets and abilities. I’ve seen firsthand just how ambitious, intelligent and compassionate they can be.
[For more of this story, written by Lisa Cohn, go to http://jjie.org/2016/12/05/jus...outside-their-walls/]