The Value of Hope

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Tour BusAlthough he and I both live in the same city, that may be the only similarity that we share. Well, perhaps there is one more. Perhaps, through the common experience of LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), we both now share the value of hope.He emailed us and would only tell us his first name, but everyone that met him remembered his face. Though we speak to hundreds of thousands of students each year in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), there are always faces we remember and stories that somehow manage to change us, give us hope, and remind us of why we do what we do. He is one of those stories.When I came into the office that morning, I had a hard dose of reality. There were bills to pay (with no money to do it), there were touring vehicles breaking down (with no money to fix them), and there were more tasks to get done than people to get to them. This is the reality of the life of a charity sometimes…and sometimes you just need a little extra encouragement to keep going. I remember sitting down at my desk and reading an email that brought it all back into perspective.Thinkday presentationHe was a student in a school that Ryan and Michelle Wood had been to with one of our teams. He said that he had to email us to tell us what had happened in his life as a result of what he experienced…I woke up this morning and looked at the bottle of bleach that I was hiding in my room. I decided that I was going to come home after school and drink it. I had nothing to live for, I hated myself, and I thought no one really cared whether I lived or died.I left early for school and when I got there, your LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) bus was parked in front, and you were unloading your equipment. I thought to myself, “I am going to die after today, so why not do something good one last time”. I came over and asked if I could help you unload your gear. You told me yes, and you asked me my name. But then, as I helped you unload your equipment, you talked to me like you were interested in who I was…and you remembered my name. I thought no one ever noticed me. Two hours later, you stood on the stage in the assembly and you told me I was created with a purpose and that my life wasn’t a mistake. You said that my life was worth living.Something told me I could believe you, because I knew that you were the same people on stage as when I met you out back. I went home after school, and I decided I could try to hope one last time that my life was worth something. I poured the bleach down the toilet tonight because I am going to continue to hope that life will get better. I am going to continue to hope that I will get better. I just wanted to say thanks for coming. You helped to save my life.Talking with students after a presentationReading that email that morning reminded me of the value of hope. Hope flourishes in the most unlikely of places and under the most unlikely of circumstances. In the high schools in our nation, hope is what students need to realize that they are significant. In a 2004 Stat Canada survey, it was discovered that 7 out of 10 high schools students feel that their lives are worthless and without value.  In our nation, we have a generation of youth that need someone to believe in them, to reach them where they are at, and to communicate to them in a way that they are listening to, and this is where hope can take root.In LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), hope is what helps us to continue to believe that we are changing things-that lives can be reached and saved. And for me, on the day that we received that email, hope became the link that I had with a young life that I may never meet but will always remind me of why I do what I do.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: January 11th, 2009