I just started reading Angela Lee Duckworth’s book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, which is relevant especially today since during tonight’s mentoring session, we had a motivational speaker, Kinja Dixon, come in to discuss just that (though he doesn’t call it “grit”). Kinja reiterated the importance of hard work and repetition in order to achieve success, and perhaps more importantly for the kids in our program, he discussed how the definition of success is not the outcome, but the journey to get to what you think you may want.

Kinja exuded a lot of energy and was very engaging, and I’d imagine for the kids, he was even more so. All the kids asked questions and were paying attention, and even my mentee, who is oftentimes addicted to her smart phone (I’ve been slowly trying to get her to put that away the last few sessions), was fully paying attention and taking it all in. This specific mentoring group under Mentoring USA has probably been the best organized of the ones I’ve participated in. I think having a speaker like Kinja meet at-risk youth at schools and after-school programs across the country would be immensely beneficial in teaching the concepts of grit, perseverance, passion, and health. He is certainly living proof of the transformations we can make (in terms of physique change and mind change). We definitely cannot forget health as I was reminded during my pertussis bout in 2015; without health, we cannot have passion or any perseverance.

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