If only

Over the years, I have had the privilege of meeting and seeing those not given the opportunities that most people I know have grown up with. There is not a time that I have not walked away in awe.

Years ago, I remember going to Carnegie Hall where, a non-profit organization that brings string instruments, mostly violins, into underserved communities in NYC and brings the kids they touch on the stage. These kids were brilliant. It speaks to the human spirit and how empowering someone can change their life.

I saw a photo this past week of an incarcerated person graduating from Yale. Yale is not the only university that works to educate people in prisons. Looking at those tears, one can’t help but wonder where this person grew up, what led this person to commit a crime, and the trauma of being locked up yet still being able to find something within themselves to graduate from one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Perhaps it was the first time they were given any lifeline.

How can we not say to ourselves damn, how can we make sure that more people/children get the opportunity to be the best they can be regardless of the terrible decisions their parents made that they had to grow up on.  It’s an endless cycle.  I’m old enough to witness the cycle. The question we ask ourselves is how do we or can we ever break the cycle?  

Instead of spending so much time taking money out of these communities, doesn’t it make more sense to put capital into them, giving kids a beacon of hope? If every kid was handed a violin or given the opportunity to get to Yale regardless of the circumstances they were born into, wouldn’t that be the right thing to do, the way to break a cycle?

The chances for success are slim as these programs get funded and cut depending on the budget and disregard of each administration. If every kid had the opportunity to have the education and support system our kids have had, what a different world we would live in. There would be less hate, more happiness, and a better economic impact. Why is that so difficult to see? More importantly, why is it so difficult not to have empathy and want that for those not as fortunate as yourself?