Opportunities and Great Causes Are All Around Us: It’s a Wonderful Life

Written on by Michael Harper, Esq.

I recently came across a 1957 article written by Dr. Gaylord Harnwell, then President of the University of Pennsylvania, entitled “Make the Most of Life.” The article appeared on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer and offered young readers advice on success and happiness in life. Dr. Harnwell declared that every life is filled with opportunities and the potential for success for we all enter into life with unique gifts, talents, and the power to choose. While people of good will are here to help and support us, “at the end, only you can fix your goals and win their achievement.” He cautioned against choosing a life focused on self, observing that true freedom and happiness are by-products of a life dedicated to serving others and “the great causes which are all around us.”   

Family Advocates at Voice and Vision is very blessed to be in the “opportunities and great causes” business. We help families and youth advocate for themselves when facing challenges related to mental health, addictions, disabilities, trauma, juvenile justice, special education, bullying, school discipline, or truancy. We also challenge our healthcare, education, and justice systems to work better for all families, especially people who are Black and African American.

Our approach is tried and true and is aptly described by Dr. Harnwell when in 1957 he observed that “the quality and beauty of our lives depends upon our inspiration and single-minded dedication to the best that is given us to know.”  Family Advocates provides hope, knowledge, and compassion that inspires others to choose a better way. Instead of falling under the weight of life’s challenges, we give families and systems strategies for fixing goals and winning their achievement.  

Some of the “great causes” I have had the privilege of working on this year:

  • Provide training and internship opportunities to college students so they can give free advocacy support to families in need
  • Advocate for major systems change in our criminal justice and behavioral health systems at the state and county levels
  • Through our “Love One Another” Leadership Initiative, facilitate community discussions on understanding the Black and African American experience and practical ways to promote equity in your community
  • Building the foundation of our upcoming podcast “Fill the Glass,” something new for 2022.  “Fill the Glass” educates listeners about important issues related to mental health, addiction and disabilities, including the systems and institutions involved in helping people living with these challenges (i.e., families, schools, treatment, courts, prisons, politics, and the law). 

Inspiration for Our Podcast “Fill the Glass”

Our vision is that every person is living the life they choose. Our mission is to advocate so all people who experience challenges related to mental health, addictions, or disabilities receive the support they need. “Fill the Glass” celebrates recovery, honors excellence, explores system challenges, and on occasion includes a ”call to action” for listeners and leaders. Our podcast will launch in early 2022. 

“The Best to Know” From Our Love One Another Leadership Initiative

Our facilitated discussion group listened to the richness and resiliency of the Black and African American experience, learning intimate details of each other’s lives, families, and communities. Our group members shared how they broke through racial barriers on the playground and in America’s arenas of higher education, business, and the court system. Guest speakers shared about Philadelphia’s Fatherhood Initiative and their personal life lessons learned. A special thanks to KM and several pastors who all spoke eloquently and forcefully about the need for EVERYONE to intentionally deepen their relationships with other races and especially to encourage Black and African American youth in their gifts, talents, and life experiences so youth can gain a deeper understanding of life’s opportunities and the power to choose. Please stay tuned for our free “Love One Another Facilitator’s Guide”, so you can start your own group within your personal network.

Thank You to So Many “People of Good Will”

Family Advocates is blessed to have so many “people of good will” who support our mission. A special thanks to my mom, dad, Ev, Mimi, The NGC, the Kane Foundation, HOGL, the Shera Family, and many, many others. This year we are especially grateful for the major support of The MidDay Foundation and its founders Steve and Susan Kelly who were kind enough to share with us:

“Having had our own struggles, we are compassionate about helping others. We were then fortunately able to create MidDay Foundation, a small private foundation that supports the work of non-profits aligned with our mission and performs exceptional work. We were inspired to support Family Advocates because the program helps change people’s lives, reaching people in ways that we are not able to do ourselves. We all know life is hard – a lot of hard work. People have to advocate for themselves and need support so they can get done what they want to accomplish.” ~The MidDay Foundation, founders Steve and Susan Kelly

Great Causes Are All Around Us

Please contact Family Advocates at michaelh@voiceandvisioninc.org if you or someone you know needs free advocacy support. 

If you would like to join our email list and receive announcements about our upcoming podcast launch, Love One Another Facilitator’s Guide, webinars, or events, please sign up by going to the lower left-hand corner of our website’s home page.

Photo From: https://pixabay.com/users/jamesdemers-3416/

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