“I want to go to celebrations where adults and youth are reporting on the concrete work they have done to “change the odds” for young people. The difference between these two words– beat vs. change – is huge.” - Karen Pittman, President and CEO of The Forum for Youth Investment
Changing the Odds Together
This past March, Karen Pittman, the President and CEO of The Forum for Youth Investment delivered a keynote address at the Ready by 21 National Meeting that highlights the themes of equity, opportunity and readiness of young people, encouraging the idea of not just beating the odds but changing the odds for young people in this country.
Pittman states, “I don’t want to go to any more celebrations in which young people are given “beat the odds” awards to acknowledge the individual commitment they have made to overcome obstacles. This is not because these young people don’t deserve our attention and awe. They absolutely do. It’s because we should not in any way settle for individual successes when there is so much more we could have done to ameliorate mass struggles.”
Pittman’s words are powerful and the vision she pursues is dire. Collaborative effort leads to collective impact, changing the odds rather than beating them. In collaboration with Social Emotional Learning practices such as teamwork, responsibility, initiative and problem-solving, young people can change the odds for young people. While collaborating with their supportive adults, both young people and adults alike can be community champions and agents of change.