Welcome Letter from Youth President Theodore Caputi
Dear High School Students,
Welcome to the National Association of Youth Diversity Committees! By signing onto our website, you have taken your very first step to creating a more respectful environment in your school and in your community. By becoming involved in NAYDC programs, you will become a part of something significant – a worthwhile and important movement.
Your interest and active participation in the NAYDC is crucial. Young people, like you, have the greatest capacity to effect positive change for our future. For the most part, adults have their mind set. Sure, certain adults can be taught to better understand the value of diversity, but only youth have the opportunity to make diversity and acceptance an integral element of their generation. No matter what we try, remnants of hatred and prejudice will remain in the older generations, but young people have the potential to put disrespect to bed. Permanently.
Now, universal respect among students from all over the country sounds like a pretty lofty goal, right? It turns out, you’re the perfect person for the job. Respect on that a nation-wide level cannot possibly be achieved by one leader or even fifty leaders. The diversity movement will take the individual devotion and dedication of hundreds – even thousands – of students. Only through the acts and enthusiasm of students – just like you – can NAYDC proliferate the messages of diversity.
I like to think of the NYADC as a place for positive change. It’s a place for enthusiasm. It’s a place for devotion. It’s a place for leadership. And, most importantly, it’s a place for you to make a difference. The NAYDC entrusts its student members with the power and the responsibility to change the way their peers think.
Personally, I run an organization called the Student Leader Union, which offers middle and high school aged students the leadership skills and strategies they need to harness the power of positive peer pressure. SLU’s student leaders come from all different backgrounds and interests, but I ask all of them to perform one simple exercise: close your eyes and envision the impact you would like to make on your school and your community. Describe what your vision looks like and even what it sounds like. I encourage every student to take a few minutes to evaluate their personal vision and create a strategy that delineates how to achieve it. If you’re vision entails a respectful environment – one in which people of all races, ethnicities, abilities, interests, religions, and backgrounds accept one another – then the NAYDC is the starting point for your action plan.
Please take the time to navigate through the rest of the NAYDC website. I hope you will find our program to be both important and effective – if not, please feel free to e-mail me your feedback and input. The NAYDC is a team of regular kids devoted to a cause greater than all of us, and it will take the combined efforts of all involved to achieve our goals. As the youth president, I’m honored to be the first to welcome you to our team.
Youth President, National Association of Youth Diversity Committees