This Saturday I attended the Dallas Hispanic Youth Institute 2011 kickoff session. There were probably 200 students in attendance that participated in the 4 day, 3 night series of events and workshops. I wanted to attend the closing ceremony to witness for myself the program’s progress and see the beauty of the enlightened students. I can tell you, I was extremely impressed by the peer-to-peer mentoring and learning opportunities they discussed. I was also impressed by how the team of teens worked so well together and helped each other. There was a magical and real sense of community and common knowledge that each student was born with unique and amazing abilities. The power of positive thought and sense of self was evident in the program. I wish I had attended the opening ceremony so I could see where the students started as individuals and where they ended as a collective powerhouse.
After a series of students won scholarships for competitions in art, debate and talent, you could see that each of team of teens was incredibly supportive of each other giving standing ovations to their winning team member. There was even a team of young boys who all stood up and got a man hug from their fellow team member who won a $2,000 scholarship for the debate competition. Now that is community and I could feel it from the next row back. We all want to have that feeling in our own lives and I would suggest in our own work environments.
A few weeks ago, when I was introduced to the program I met with several of the alumni from the prior years’ programs. I was awe-struck by their sense of purpose for themselves. Each wanted to contribute to society in a meaningful and almost spiritual way. I heard words like, “I realize the Power of Love” and “I just want to connect with people”. Wow!! I know 40 and 50 years olds who are not so enlightened as these young individuals. We all should spend some time with these young folks. They know more than we can understand or appreciate for their age.
What I have learned from these two experiences is that:
1) We should be supportive of programs that awaken the human spirit in youth so they can continue on their journey and achieve amazing success. We, as a community, will benefit from these programs with productive and connected individuals contributing to our society. When they win, we all win.
2) As business leaders, we should not fear our millennial teammates but rather embrace their communal sense of connecting and their power of purpose. By 2020, Millennials will make up 50% of our workforce. We should leverage what they bring to the table, recognize they are good partners and we need more people who recognize the power of love and need to connect with people. The world would be better off…and so would the business playing field.
We are all in this world together. Have a powerful purpose and sense of community like our young team mates. We will all go far!