“How do I give back to this?”

Emma’s question took me off guard when she asked, “how do I give back to this?”. Her tear stained face contrasted deeply with the hope and excitement I saw in her eyes. My team had just finished guiding 80 high school freshmen through an emotional 5-hour experience called Point Break where kids realize they are not alone in the struggles they face.

Earlier in the Point Break experience Emma had communicated with the group that she struggles. Like many 14-year-old students she feels that no one listens to her or understands her. She’s found herself the target of ridicule on various social media pages. She’s journeyed down some rough roads and due to the pain in her life she turned to harmful outlets. She’s not a stranger to the dark and hopeless world of self-harm. Although she is surrounded by people most of the time she feels alone and completely isolated.

During a Point Break workshop, many students just like Emma discover for the first time in their lives, that there really are people willing to listen and help in their darkest hours. The lie that has held them captive for so long is shattered. The lie that says life is hopeless no longer screams inside their heads when their thoughts wonder.

For some, the reaction to finding hope in the middle of darkness is a desire to immediately share it with others. That was Emma’s response. She desperately wanted others to find what she had found and the reason she asked, “how do I give back to this?”. I shared with her a mentoring program that existed in her high school where she could help other students who are fighting inner-battles. Her smile amplified as she thought of the positive impact she could have on her campus.

-Steve Prettyman
*Names have been changed