By: Dale King
A dozen at-risk teens from Delray Beach’s most economically challenged neighborhoods recently gathered to wrap their fears, hopes and dreams in time capsules they hope to unearth under far better living conditions and life circumstances a decade from now.
The effort – designed to encourage self-expression and healing during these difficult times – was entitled “I Will Breathe” in memory of George Floyd, the man who died while being detained by Minneapolis police.
Participants included high school students that attend Milagro’s Teen Leadership Program and middle school students who are part of the center’s Junior Teen Leadership Program.
The capsules were buried in separate ceremonies in east Delray at Milagro’s Teen Leadership Center and the adjacent Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Milagro Junior Teen Center.
The teens enclosed poems, masks, gloves, short written pieces and palm drawings detailing their life experiences during the challenges of the current times.
“It was a cathartic experience for these teenagers as they were able to voice their innermost fears and hopes for the future,” said Barbara Stark, president and CEO of Milagro Center.
Stark said life has always been a struggle for these financially challenged teenagers, but what they are facing now is truly unprecedented.
“So many other issues have converged on them, starting with the COVID-19 crisis, which has forced entire families, in many cases multiple generations, into isolation and desperate poverty. Their economic struggles have deepened due to job losses.”
Stark said Milagro Center decided to turn this situation into a positive by helping these students share their fears, their hopes and their dreams. “At ages 14 through 18 now, many of these teens will be voting soon. Someday, we hope they will not only be productive members of our community, but also future leaders… mayors, senators and even governors.”
The time capsules will be dug up on July 10, 2030, “when we know these students will come back as respected, productive members of this community to unearth the capsules,” she said.
Stark hopes the time capsule project will help Milagro Center continue to “create an indestructible sense of self-worth among all of our students.”
Wrote one student in a palm drawing that will go into the time capsule: “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”
Milagro Center’s vision is to be a center of inspiration whose mission is to enrich children’s lives through cultural arts, academic support and living values, benefiting both the children served, their families and community.