As I look back, and ponder why Facing Giants, a lot of key phrases come to mind: “Culture Shift”, “Be The Change”, and “Stigma”. All these phrases have been the driving force behind the creation and development of Facing Giants. So why Facing Giants, you may ask again? I think in order to really answer this question, I have to take a step back down memory lane.

Growing up in a single parent household, among many other circumstances, I often times found myself feeling as if I did not belong, was misunderstood and unloved. I always felt different, and quite frankly weird. I never learned how to express or deal with my emotions because I always felt, as if, I had to be a rock for everyone else. I was pretty much a robot up until my high school years, when life really hit me the hardest and I became completely overwhelmed. All aspects of my health were quickly deteriorating. What got me through the rough times were two teachers classrooms that became my safe haven, Ms. D and Ms. Mulet. They invested their time in making sure they took care of me so that I could go out and continue to take care of others. For example, learning to communicate my feelings and emotions vocally and not simply through my writing. For a long period of time, I was unable to look at a person in the eye when speaking to them, out of fear of rejection. My insecurities seemed to always get the best of me and prohibited me from having healthy relationships with anyone. I lived a life full of barriers and learning how to break down those barriers felt like torture. With the countless advice and guidance from both Ms. D and Ms. Mulet, I found my safe place, a place where I could be myself and be vulnerable which I believe is critical to my health and an attribute to my success. I found that safe place within the classrooms of Ms. D and Ms. Mulet.

The biggest Giant I have had to face is myself. Like many of today’s youth, I struggled with discovering my identity. There is a perceived stigma associated with today’s youth of weakness in a sense of the ability to effectively deal with life’s issues and a strong sense of entitlement. With the various external factors that have such a greatly negative influence and impact on the next generation, i.e. Social Media (being the most influential)… How do we face the various Giants within ourselves in a society that teaches us that being transparent about our problems, is a sign of weakness? How do we change the stigma? It requires a shift in our culture and perception of life. In order to successfully accomplish this it takes a community-wide joint effort between our local government, businesses, churches and the school system. We must all work together to, like Ghandi once said, “BE THE CHANGE we want to see”. Change begins with each and every one of us.

Our vision for Facing Giants, is to come together as a community to provide the resources necessary to our youth and their families to ensure they are in good health physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, in order to effectively Face Giants both internally and externally.

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