Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States by tapping into his gifts and possibilities. As a young man, he took a good look at his strengths, his gifts and enhanced them. Then he capitalized on those gifts by looking exploring and pursuing the possibilities of life. One of these possibilities was a college education and a Harvard Law Degree. The possibility became reality. Another possibility was helping people by becoming a community organizer. The possibility became reality. Another possibility was becoming a State Senator in Illinois. The possibility became reality. And another was becoming a U.S. Senator. The possibility became reality. And then he pursued the possibility of becoming the first African American president of the United States. The possibility became reality—and history was made.
Everyone can’t be, or would even want to be, president. But, each of us has gifts that are equally significant. We have the gifts that make us leaders, just as Barack Obama is a leader. Many think that leaders are people who head up countries or big corporations. But, every one of us can be a leader by contributing to our families, our communities, the United States and the world.
This is what President Barack Obama meant in his Inaugural address when he said:
“What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.”
We at the Institute for Positive Living hear President Obama’s message loud and clear. We have been living that message since the very first day when IPL launched its Open Book pilot project. At IPL we train youth to channel their energies in positive directions.
A main focus for IPL is literacy and the love of reading. Literacy is the baseline
Channel those energies into a positive direction. Literacy defines where you are and where you can be and go in life. If a child can’t read, it is difficult for them to dream and become a visionary—or even think. The ability to read gives a child an ability to think and see a world that is beyond what they can see right in front of them. It gives the child the possibility of dreaming.
IPL also focuses on entrepreneurship. Through IPL’s Entrepreneurship Program, we help kids tap into their ideas and create small businesses. This process inspires the possibility of these youth becoming great business people in the future.
IPL also mentors young males and females. Through IPL’s Male Mentoring Program, boys see that they have great qualities that they can tap into. Just as Barack Obama has gifts, so do they. They can develop these gifts. They have the possibility of doing great things, not only for themselves, but for their communities and for the world.
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