Friday, November 3
Do you know what it feels like to be in middle school and to not fit in?
This is a story about a boy. A boy who struggled to find his voice, a boy who just wanted to “fit in.”
Middle school students face many challenges that, to them, seem like the end of the world. As adults, we see just a minor problem, but put yourself in their shoes and remember back to the days you were in middle school… it IS the end of the world!
This is a tough time for youth. With the onset of adolescence, the challenges youth face includes insecure feelings, changes in the body, brain, and social environment.
Jordan came to Otter Creek Middle School with these exact feelings and insecurities. Jordan was a small, no more than 4-foot 10-inches tall, new sixth grade student. The confusion and fear of starting a new school was just the beginning of some of the challenges that Jordan would face.
Seeing many students settle into their new role as a middle school student, some heavily involved in sports, music, academic clubs, Jordan felt out of place. He had a tough time imagining himself belonging to such organizations, thinking that he was “not good enough” to participate.
Jordan began to feel that he wasn’t going to “survive” the middle school life.
Like any normal day, Jordan showed up for school and went through the motions of his “new life.” It was a Friday, and he, like many others, were looking forward to the weekend.
As Jordan listened to the announcements just before afternoon advisory period, he noticed the announcer introducing something new to the roster. “Students interested in joining No Fear Future Club, please report to the large cafeteria.”
Longing to escape this class period, like any “normal” student, Jordan decided to bail and report to the large cafeteria to see what No Fear Future Club was all about.
Students began filing in to the large cafeteria, some familiar faces, some not so familiar faces. Jordan remained quiet and to himself, while others talked amongst their groups. Completing the “intake” forms presented to them upon entering the cafeteria.
The leader of the club introduced herself and began speaking of the benefits of No Fear Future Club, “This club is for any and all students who are looking for a way to truly be the leaders of their schools. I will encourage each and every one of you to get involved with the concept of becoming a leader, participating in community service activities, pledging to be drug and alcohol free, and passing on important social messages to the rest of the students in your school.”
As the leader continued to explain the benefits of this club and past community service projects, Jordan began to really ponder how this club would make a difference in his life. As he listened, he realized that this may actually be a place where he could “fit in.” For the first time since entering the sixth grade, Jordan began to finally feel excited about what he could accomplish during his time at Otter Creek Middle School.
When students were dismissed for the end of the school day, many of the soon to be club members rushed out of the cafeteria to head home. Jordan stayed behind to help with clean up. As he turned in his form to the leader, Jordan had one thing to say, “Thank you for doing this! I finally feel like I have found a place to fit in.”
Jordan continues to participate in No Fear Future Club. The club leader has seen some significant social changes among Jordan, including actively participating in group activities within the club.
As adults, we often don’t think of how something so small can make a huge impact in the life of a youth. No Fear Future Club continues to inspire and motivate middle school students to get involved, shaping today’s youth to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Programs to provide a sense of place and pride are so needed in the life of an adolescent. You can help other children like Jordan find their place during the tough transition to middle school.
To learn more about No Fear Future Club, click here.