Midland Alternative Students Decide to "Be the Change" 9/19/12
CBS 7 Reporter
September 19, 2012
Midland, TX - Some Midland students are looking to change their image and make a difference in their community at the same time.
The students at the Midland Alternative Program, also known as MAP, experienced Challenge Day last week. It’s a program that brings students together in an opportunity to get to know each other and break up the cliques and gangs on their campus.
"We started finding out what people had been through and we never knew that,” explains MAP Freshman student Lorenzo Cano
Freshman year got off to a rough start for Cano. He got into some trouble at school and ended up going to school at MAP.
“After we got out of Challenge Day I saw a change in our school with students getting to know each other and stop arguing and fighting," he says.
"Last year it took me months to get some of these kids to open up and really talk,” explains Chad Small with the Palmer Drug Abuse Program. “So to see that happen in an 8 hour process was nothing short of a miracle."
Small meets with the students twice a week and this year he was also a volunteer at Challenge Day, where he says these kids got real and shared experiences many of us could never imagine.
"They're really, really great kids. They need more people to sit down and hear what they have to say and what they've got going on in their life,” Small says. “Everybody thinks they are a certain way without even knowing them. It's like a self fulfilling prophecy, they end up behaving the way that they're pigeon holed."
That's why these students are starting their own "Be the Change" team to keep their Challenge Day experience alive and hopefully change the perception of their school in the community.
"If they really took the time to get to know us they would know we're not really bad kids,” Cano claims. “What we want to do is go around and talk to schools and let kids know how Challenge Day went and try to get them not to make the same mistakes were making right now. How is somebody going to judge us and not even know who we really are? We all make mistakes somehow, we just learn from them."
The volunteers will meet with the students at MAP every Tuesday during their elective period. They hope to plan several community outreach events and fundraisers with the teens.