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Helping kids have a happy life

August 23, 2019 11:31 AM

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness -- the word happiness is even included in the Declaration of Independence. While we all strive to be happy, the concept is often altered by the world we live in. Hamad Alghareeb from the Boys and Girls Club of the Capital Area joins us to talk about that.

A big thank you to WNYT Channel 13 for having me as a guest to represent the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area and converse about the topic of dreams and happiness under a lens of realism.

The NBC WNYT Channel 13 clip doesn’t fully portray what we talked about on and off the camera, here is a short rundown if you feel like reading:

Regardless of our age, we all have dreams. Usually, dreams are classified as goals or "wants" or things that we want to accomplish to be happy.

Happiness is a feeling that we all seek. To find a feeling, you need to experience it first. As you know, we can't describe something that you have never experienced at least once. Usually, when we experience something for the first time, we give that feeling or experience a name. Like, excitement, joy, frustration, disappointment, happiness, etc.

The concept of happiness nowadays is being altered by our own reality that we live in. The dream of happiness is being advertised on television, described by books, portrayed by images. These channels introduce concepts that were never experienced before by a person. Especially a young person! Therefore, many of us grow up by seeking feelings, "wants" or dreams that are not ours. These dreams could be somebody else's dreams or their concept of happiness.

We must help young people develop their own dream concepts by providing them a platform to experience new things. Have young people name their own experiences and form their own opinions about them. Such opportunities are not always available within a traditional school system. We live in an ever-changing world, and that requires our educational systems, schools, and policies to keep up with the change to help students for relevant real-world success.

That is why organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs have organically formed to work as mobilizers for those who need them the most. Expanded learning programs like Universal Pre-K, After School Programs, Teen Programs have become essential to young people's lives to be successful, productive citizens of the future.

I have interacted with teens who have given up on changing their narrative. They have given up, because they come from a marginalized community, low socioeconomic status, and the advertised dreams or happiness concepts do not relate to them. Sadly, we have children who go to school every day who are dream-less, because of the lack of relatedness. It is our role and responsibility as educators, adults, activists, to allow children to dream again. All it takes is one person to change a child’s life, and that could be any of us. I never dreamed that I, a queer person of color would ever be a happily married professional educator. However, the opportunities in life that I chose to partake in changed the odds for me. Every child, teen, and adult can change their narrative if they are surrounded by accessible opportunities that enable them to dream and create their own desired version of happiness.



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