May – our favorite month! We salute Youth!

May in the southern part of the United States brings bright sunshine and flowers and azaleas in bloom – and so do we now share our thoughts on the days gone by, great memories, meeting America’s fine young people and what’s ahead for A Backpack Journalist as we move into “Making the World Smile Again!”  What a year or so -right?  Did you learn virtually, or not?

A special thanks to all the adjunct teachers (David, Mike, Bobby, Pedro, Daniel, and Col. Rick and Col. Scotty)  who helped begin this hands-on program – A Backpack Journalist –  working with military youth as we traveled the US providing support at Youth Symposiums and Family Readiness Group events.  With the deployments ongoing, we provided days of how to write and communicate with their parents to  taking portrait photos and  adventures.  Many a night we would be found up late in the evening,  with amazing young people as they drafted their first written essay. From coast to coast, with my personal favorite state:  Wyoming.

Here’s to:

  • Daniel, the Masterpiece Jones, with his love of music who landed among us, and went onto to create his own record label, after teaching so many how to add audio to their own written lyrics.
  • Brianna, soon to be a reporter for the Washington Post, who as a teen with her Dad’s encouragement a US Army Colonel to join in with us for a workshop only, to be so inspired and find her passion, writing and now an upcoming reporter for the Washington Post.
  • Hannah, now married and living in Germany, as she continues to serve military youth as she did with us at the Bank of America Youth Leadership Conference in Washington, DC.
  • To Amir, now at the Early College to High School, for joining in locally as he became a great representative of the Backpack Journalist programming all around Charleston, SC along with several other “boys” that we often referred to them as the “Musketeers!” Dorian and Stephan! All beginning during the 4-5 grades at Sanders Clyde.
  • To Tyler, another local Charleston, SC young person, from elementary school now to high school, with his developed love of cars and thanks to our partnership lead by Brad Davis, Hendrick Automotive for being there for you, us and all other students.
  • To our volunteers who stepped up and helped in our afterschool, especially Denny, who often was amazed at the outcomes before us, as he traveled with us to alot of local events, providing a lending  hand and male guidance.
  • To Mike Veeck, who shared his great sense of humor and helped to open the doors at THE RIVERDOGS as we visited many games, for the first time for so many.
  • Freddie Lawton, Beaufort, South Carolina, we discovered on a stage performing at the Harriet Tubman Musical by the Beaufort Middle School.  He portrayed Robert Smalls following for us, and now he is seeking out his performance talent at SC Governor’s School.
  • And to all others – and there is a list, we thank you for allowing us to serve you and to provide a hands-on experience not often found in a school classroom!
  • A Backpack Journalist – providing a creative experience in Scholastic Journalism – though hands-on and “Cover the Assignment” activities.
  • Resilience and self-confidence in one’s own abilities an outcome.

    Making the World Smile Again!

ONWARD – Making the World Smile Again – It is time to be safe and move past the negative set forth by that old ” COVID19″.  We love the comic humor of Charlie Chaplin and the creative experiences we will be sharing as we have fun – learning – and finding resilience now in smiles and exploring the world around us.

Linda Dennis