As I reflect on a month of celebrating black history, and teaching what these achievements mean to the children of Vista Del Mar, I am left with these thoughts.
When you share black history with students and residents who have faced challenges, and represent a minority you are teaching that excellence can be achieved no matter the adversity faced. Vista’s own diverse leaders, staff and role-models are proof of that. Most importantly their success seeds in our youth that they too can overcome obstacles and strive for greatness year-round.
As some of you familiar with Vista’s history may know, Vista has expanded far beyond its origin as a Jewish Orphanage one hundred plus years ago. In the past several decades, our agency has evolved and grown to meet the changing needs of our community. That growth translates into a demographic where 75% of our students and families represent a minority.
As the first CEO of color at Vista, I understand the responsibility I have to show our diverse student base that “hey- I can achieve, means you can achieve.” For an underserved youth, having people that look like you in leadership roles instills a belief that your potentials can only be limited by your determination.
It is in Vista’s evolution that we as an agency realize how important it is for children of color to see themselves in service roles, and contributing to the community. Our students have risen to the occasion by working alongside volunteers and staff to provide toiletry kits and sack lunches to local homeless missions and shelters.
So my closing thoughts on this month are these –
Our students and all children of color should not have to wait for just one month out of a year to celebrate themselves. By surrounding our students with a diverse support staff, we can enable them to build the self-confidence they need to strive for excellence 365 days a year.