GOSHEN — Alex didn’t give up. He had people who were there to support him.
Alex urged his listeners Wednesday to be those kind of people.
Alex, a young man from Goshen, was one of several speakers during the sixth annual Community Summit on Children. The event was aimed at youth care workers and providers, educators, participants in the juvenile justice system, police and others who work to improve the lives of children. Around 400 people were expected to attend. The theme of this year’s summit, held at Maple City Chapel in Goshen, was “Thinking Outside the Box.”
Alex described a childhood far from idyllic.
“I remember being 4 years old and watching crack being cooked on the stove, learning the cues when my parents were high — the big pupils, the towel around the neck to deal with excessive sweat,” he said. Alex also recalled seeing his father throw his mother down a flight of 20 stairs.
For young Alex, there were troubles with authorities and time spent in foster care. He said he knew at a young age he wanted to be a success, but just didn’t have the guidance.
However, over the years there were adults — teachers, a court-appointed special advocate — who supported Alex. He eventually found the right home and started high school in a loving family environment. Alex graduated early and earned scholarships.
“All some kids ever need is someone to believe in them,” he said Wednesday. “Every one of us in this room has the opportunity to serve as a motivation for a child. ...A child needs to be aware that they have someone there for guidance, someone for support, and most importantly someone they can come to in failure.”
With help, Alex persevered. Another speaker Wednesday also knows a bit about overcoming long odds.