“Caminante, no hay puentes, se hace puentes al andar.”
Translation: Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks.
–Gloria E. Anzaldúa
This quote by Gloria E. Anzaldúa has been especially relevant in my life, both personally and professionally, these past two years. I’m guessing you may feel the same.
But for young people, so early on their life path, it strikes me as critical. Traditionally, young people are told what they must do to succeed. Step by step… do well in school, make good friends, participate in clubs, join a team, do well on your SATs. But now, students are learning a different lesson: life is unpredictable, and your plans will change. These past two years, young people have had to find their way when the path laid out for them disappears. However difficult, with the support, guidance, and encouragement of their mentors and tutors, students are learning to build a new bridge as they go.
I had the privilege of interviewing retiring Principal Bill Pierce this month (article below). When I asked him what he believes to be the greatest impact our volunteers make, he replied, “Volunteers are helping to build the future of their community.” He shared that the education system is about preparing young people to be adult members of our communities- to be the workforce, our neighbors, people we can have conversations with. I love that image of mentors and tutors building the bridge to our community’s future.
Every student is on their unique path, but it is not laid out for them. It can go many ways. As members of the community, when we help students find their way and build bridges to brighter futures, we support all of us and the future of our community.