For the past 17 years, over 700 Junior High students have been loved, had their eyes opened, had their self esteem magnified, made friends and were set on a path of confidence through Pam's efforts. She conceived of, organized and launched a program she calls "Sunrise" in the community where she teaches. Recruiting volunteers, securing the minimal funding needed and spending countless hours preparing each year keeps her focused.
She saw her students struggling with abuse, absent parents, drugs and alcohol, simple shyness and the myriad challenges that adolescence presents. She helped diverse groups see how similar they really are. There are few resources for these kids and Pam saw the opportunity to reach out to them and make a difference. Through a three day event of experiential leaning, skits, discussions, music and a full day outdoor confidence and low-level ropes course, the participants learn they are not alone. They are given tools to get beyond what is holding them back; to move on with less fear and more joy.
Pam has a drawer of notes given her by those she has touched. It is a very full drawer. The incredibly personal letters tell her how these kids no longer think of suicide or of cutting. They tell of how connections have been reestablished between children and parents who had difficulty communicating before. There is pride and gratitude in these letters. The words that repeat are "Sunrise was the best thing in my life." Though very humble about the program's success, Pam is a hero in many, many eyes.
Submitted by Anonymous
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