This week's Feature Friday Profile is Kelly Curtis from Pass the Torch. She's also the author of the book Empowering Youth: How to Encourage Young Leaders to Do Great Things. If you aren't familiar with her, you'll want to visit her blog and consider buying a copy of her book. Kelly is a phenomenal woman, who inspires me to be a better mom every time I read her blog. Here's a bit of the conversation I had with Kelly. I also recently submitted an article about Kelly and her work encouraging youth leaders to The Savvy Gal, an online women's magazine. I"ll let you know when it's published.
Tell me why you started blogging?
What I had actually been looking for was a place online to put clips. When I started getting assignments (Kelly began her writing career as a freelancer.), I thought, "I need a place to put these so I can direct editors to an online spot that they can look at my clips." But I didn't know how to go about that. My brother-in-law said, "Maybe you should look into a blog." And I seriously had no idea what he was talking about, had never heard of a blog, didn't ever spend time on the internet that way. I did a little research and just started one. I didn't even know what to do with it. Then I started to kind of switch gears since I started to get a feel for what blogging actually was supposed to be. I just kind of played with it for awhile and then, very spontaneously switched it to Pass the Torch (from its former name). Then it became a personal blog. Before that point, I didn't really get what people did with blogs.
What is your book about?
It's called Empowering Youth: How to Encourage Young Leaders to Do Great Things, and it's based on the research done by Search Institute, which is the forty Developmental Assets. The assets are basically a list of forty characteristics. If young people have these assets, they're more likely to grow up healthy, caring, and resilient. You don't have to have all of these assets in order to grow up successfully, but the more of them you have the better. So the Developmental Asset approach is just encouraging young people to build on what's right about young people rather than worrying about what's wrong with them. And so the four chapters that I included in the book are "When a Community Values Youth", "Treating Youth as Valued Resources", "Serving the Needs of Others", and "Ensuring a Safe World for Young People." Those are the four empowerment assets. The philosophy behind this book is, basically, that young people have more to offer society than we often give them credit for. So if we can open our minds to the idea that young people might have really fantastic ideas sometimes if we're willing to listen to them, letting go of the reigns sometimes can make a huge differencein our communities.
What do you enjoy most about blogging?
A key mantra in journalism is "show, don't tell." Blogging allows me to show important things about my life - the proud moments, as well as the struggles. In a society where women often choose not to tell either of these things for fear of appearing like that bragging mom or that whiney woman, blogging gives me the opportunity to show the events in my life, share my feelings about them, without worrying as much about the receiver of the information. Although, I do consider my readers, I also know it's simple for them to choose to bow out of the conversation. On the Web, it's just a click of the mouse. After all, it is my personal journal, and a large part of my blog's existence is to say what I need to say.
See, didn't I tell you she was awesome? So head on over to her blog to learn more about how Kelly lives the principals behind her book in her own life. You can read the chronicles of her daughter's neighborhood book project each week on BookWorm Wednesday and see other examples of how youth are doing great things. Enjoy.