If you can see it, you can be it.
Children’s early experiences shape what they imagine for their futures. What they see in media, movies, books and in real life influences what they think is possible for people who look like or live like they do. Seeing people like them gives children and youth someone to relate to and helps them embrace their culture or background. Seeing more reflective representation is also more realistic, and it helps people of all ages feel more seen and heard. It fills in the gaps of the stories that are often missing, which is enriching and inspiring for all of us.
For these reasons and more, Youth In Need is intentional in our early learning programs, for example, about having learning materials and visual depictions that show the rich diversity of our humanity, including people of color, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community and beyond. It’s why we are also striving for more diverse representation in leadership roles in our organization.
From fictional characters like Star Wars’ Rey (my dog’s namesake!) who showed kids that a girl doesn’t need to be rescued, to real people with a beautiful diversity of identities who break glass ceilings, our children are watching and are inspired to achieve the greatness that lies in each one of them. Believing in the power of potential….