On Monday, July 1, 2019, DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. Executive Director Donovan Forrest spoke to youth at Ace Camp in West Philadelphia. Ace Camp is a summer program hosted by an after-school program at Martha Washington Elementary School at 766 North 44th Street in the Belmont neighborhood of West, Philadelphia.
While as a visitor, Forrest facilitated an empowerment workshop with 10, 11 and 12-year-olds and had them write and present their personal positive affirmations.
At the beginning of his workshop, Forrest sound checked the room, asking how students were doing and asking them to introduce themselves and a favorite hobby.
After introducing himself as a product of the Philadelphia School System and a North Philadelphia native, Forrest handed out pieces of paper and asked students to write the words: "I AM____________ " and something positive about themselves.
While circling the room, Forrest saw that many of the students were happy to write positive affirmations. Some students said they were powerful, beautiful, athletic, and smart. After the students wrote their positive affirmations, decorated their papers, and shared, Forrest, asked the students to stand shoulder to shoulder and hold their papers to the sky. "Now on the count of three, I want everyone at home, in your neighborhood, and in New Jersey to hear what you are!: Forrest exclaimed. Although Forrest knows that what he said to the students about perseverance may not stick eight years from now, he wholeheartedly believes that children are the equivalent of all the times caring adults make them smile and comprised of all the moments that make them dance.