Working this past week at the iCount 2010 Oregon Teen Conference had such a impact on me. I went into just expecting to teach workshops honestly. I ended up connecting with many youth on so many levels. I had several youth come up to me and share their stories, struggles, and innermost feelings with me. I am truly humbled that they felt comfortable enough to share so much with me. I can remember back to a few years ago when I was in the foster care system and I would look to just about any adult that would take the time to pay attention to me, or just listen to what I had to say.
Now I'm 21, and youth are looking to me for the same things that I was looking for back then. It really put things into perspective for me and my heart goes out to all of the youth that I connected with this past week because I understand what they are going through. One of the challenges this past was listening to the different stories of youth, and me feeling so helpless. When a youth comes to you and says, "I need information about housing, or financial aid for college.." its easy for me to point them in the right direction. But when a youth tells me that they could be in a room of thousands of people and still feel really lonely. What do you do, what do you say? I only had 4 days to spend with them and I guess that was my time to give the youth whatever it is they were needing from me. I just wish I could do more. All in all, I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to spend time this past week with the youth, and being an All-Star has provided me with that opportunity. I am so excited for what is to come the rest of the summer and could not have asked to be doing anything better.