Important Summer Tips for Inner-City Youth from Tupac, Outkast, & Drake
By Krissica L. Harper
As an advocate, college admissions recruiter, and educator in the areas of youth and student development, I have noticed that a large percentage of inner-city high school students are not aware of the things needed to start their collegiate, educational, and career pursuits. Like them, I was a kid in the inner-city. Low-income and “at-risk” were a few words that the school system used to label me. Having a single parent household and incarcerated parent is/was tough. I am forever grateful to my mother and “the village” around me that introduced my sibling and me to a variety of different summer programs and more. Some of those included athletic camps, educational tours, and views from the 6. (kidding on that last one, ha ha) But, the KEY to those experiences was just that- I EXPERIENCED them. I heard once that there wasn’t so much an “educational gap” as there was an “access and skills (experience)” gap. Those experiences changed the trajectory of my life.
Finances play a huge role in accessing educational/informational opportunities for inner-city youth. Growing up, my mother worked multiple jobs so that we could afford to participate in extracurricular activities. There were also some activities that we could not do because of the costs associated with them. I know how it feels to want to do something that other kids did, but with money being the deciding factor, not be able to do it. I also recall going back to school in the fall and the teacher asking for everyone to stand and tell the class what they did over the summer. It is not exciting when you’re the kid that does not have much to tell everyone. On many occasions, reluctantly, I made up worthy-enough stories that would match up with my classroom peers. Not a good feeling.
Below I have listed a few tips on how inner-city youth can search and access some EXPERIENCES that can help them achieve results in and out of the classroom. I want to help take our youth and their interests, gifts, and talents to new heights this summer! I also want them to be the kids with exciting stories to tell the class or write about next school year!
1. HIT THAT HASHTAG
NOW to my young, hip, Snap Chattin’ young’uns — there will be some free programs around your city. If you are on social media, go ahead and hit that hashtag. What are you interested in? Maybe there are some events that coincide with that exact thing. See if there are a few hashtags that you can hit on Twitter and Instagram. Sites like Eventbrite, Meetup and Act Locally Waco list local and statewide events and happenings that you can attend this summer. Get up, get out, and Remember: EXPERIENCES CAN SHAPE YOUR REALITY.
Like my guys from Outkast once said,
“you need to git up, git out and git somethin
Don’t let the days of your life pass by
You need to git up, git out and git somethin
Don’t spend all your time tryin to get high
You need git up, git out and git somethin
How will you make it if you never even try
You need to git up, git out and git somethin
Cuz you and I got to do for you and I”
Yes, R-E-A-D in the summer. READ! The summer is an amazing time to reflect on things that happened during the school year. Often times we want to get away from anything pertaining to school during the summer. However, why not enjoy the sun, enjoy the swimming pools, and GET AHEAD? Take the time to expand your knowledge. Being in the inner-city there are some negative distractions that could impact your life in a major way. What if you decided that you won’t let those distractions hinder you from growing? Les Brown, Eric Thomas, and Gary Vaynerchuck are a few folks that I want you to get acquainted with this summer.
I never forget the words of 2PAC that speak to inner-city youth like you and myself-
“You try to plant somethin in the conrete, y’knowhatImean?
If it GROW, and the and the rose petal got all kind of
scratches and marks, you not gon’ say, “[DANG], look at
all the scratches and marks on the rose that grew from concrete”
You gon’ be like, “[DANG]! A rose grew from the concrete?!”
Same thing with me, y’knahmean? I grew out of all of this
Instead of sayin, “[DANG], he did this, he did this,”
just be like, “[DANG]! He grew out of that? He came out of that?”
…At the end of this summer, you want to be able to say, “Getting things done around here.” #SummerSixteen 😉
#GetPAPER – “Passionate About Purpose Expecting Results”
Krissica Harper is a youth and student development advocate, college recruiter, and educator. She conducts and curates workshops, events, and more. Here goal is to inspire others to live with purpose and pursue their passions. This post first appeared on her own blog which you can follow at medium.com/@krissicaharper. Connect with Krissica on social media @KrissicaHarper. Any questions? Contact her directly: [email protected].
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.