Kids, Grants and Making Dreams Real

fishing-wallpaper-fishing-sports_00431536We have all heard the Chinese proverb, ‘Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”

Throughout my life I have been blessed with support from family, mentors and other water athletes as I pursued my goals and dreams. There is no way any of them could have done the work for me, instead they showed me a path, a work ethic and a dedication to a passion. They didn’t “give me a fish,” they taught me to fish! Sometimes those who care most about youth struggling with life challenges fear that their dreams and goals are impossibly out of reach. So often, we want to help right now, any way we can. It is not easy to have the tools required to teach that young person to “fish.” So many dedicated teachers and leaders work tirelessly to find a way to help. No one wants to see a child struggle because they can’t afford what they want or need.

When we make a decision to take care of the struggle or journey ourselves, the young person will lose on so many levels. In the beginning of program development for “It’s YOUR Wave – Ride It” we thought that we would develop a “mini-grant” process. In that process there were a few steps:

  • A teacher or youth leader would use our program that includes a conversation and guided worksheet to use while watching The SUP Movie
  • The young people would have a time for reflection and a second worksheet for after seeing the film
  • The youth most inspired by the film and the program activities could fill out a mini grant application requesting funds to start along their journey toward their dream.

The only way to determine if our program is grounded in the best chances for success and the power to inspire and impact young people is to work with as many youth and teachers as possible during development. maui-snorkel

We discovered that it is not so easy to generate adequate grant funding to support the endless numbers of life dreams that young people seek. We cannot simply “give them a fish.” The very youth we hope to impact and inspire were the catalyst toward the development of some of the most valuable pieces of the “It’s YOUR Wave – Ride It” program activities. To learn more about how that development occurred, take a look at “Wave Dreams – Wave Ripples.

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