The Beauty of Their Dreams


"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Eleanor Roosevelt

For the past 10 years and more, I’ve known young people in Kenya. It’s been a love of my life to be a part of creating The Mama Ada Foundation – an organization that breathes opportunity into other’s lives, with a gift of tuition and seeds.

I also have two sons who are 18- and 15-years-old. Evan and Ben make me laugh, cry (only sometimes), frolic, dream and hope, more than would ever have been possible had I not been blessed to be their mom. They have both made donations to The Mama Ada Foundation and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

Though the obstacles that Evan and Ben face are not the same as those faced by young people in Kenya (after all, they have access to free high school education), my sons face real, serious and daunting obstacles in their young American lives. Drugs and alcohol are used by some kids in our schools, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are rampant for young people here, and enormous public schools struggle to still know students as individuals with unique education needs.

For the past year or so, Evan has been searching for a college to attend after he graduates from high school in June. American parents know that the college search process here can be mind-bending, frustrating, complicated, and very expensive.

And yet, as I reflect on the past year, it’s been a privilege to walk with my son, as he does his courageous best to discover a place for himself next year – to learn more about what gives him joy, to define for others and for himself what he wants to study, to discover what he dreams to accomplish in our world and to take steps to make those dreams possible. And when I realize just how proud I am of him, and how his dreams matter and how he wants them to happen, really happen…..the two worlds suddenly converge.

Young people all around the world have this beautiful and common flame of hope that they will find their place, that they will have purpose, that they can wrap up the gifts God gave them and make them mean something, to themselves and to others. Very often, they’re not yet pessimistic beyond repair, still believing in possibility, in change, in hope.

Let’s be people who cheer on these younger ones (like Kelvin Kiproto, pictured here), who are our globe’s future, and let’s all find ways that we can lovingly support their dreams – whether it’s by making a donation for a young person to attend school in Kenya or whether it’s by lending an ear to our own child or another young person in the United States, who needs a word of cheer.

Let’s be people who love this next generation into being, for as Eleanor Roosevelt so beautifully once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

- Julie Keller