Happy Thanksgiving! I am deeply grateful for the blessings in my life. One of my greatest blessings is the joy I feel when I’m with young people. Each young person is a person of great worth, and I treasure my time with them. My annual tradition is to dedicate a Thanksgiving column to peer educator voices. Enjoy!
Staci M Boucher: I am thankful for everything I have including friends, family, and the things I have to survive. In the last year so many tragedies happened and affected many things and people. They helped me realize that the things I have, like my mom, dad, food, shelter, love - not everybody has. When we ask our parents for money, we usually want it for entertainment, or something fun. There are people out there in need of money for shelter or food. We shouldn’t take advantage of what we have, we should be thankful for what we have.
Taylor Allen: I’m thankful for my family, friends, my church family and having a house to live in and just being alive because I love who I am and being a part of the Teen Outreach program. I am also thankful for everybody that I have ever met because that reflects on who I am as a person.
Kellie Black: I am thankful for the opportunity to live in a country where I can celebrate my faith freely. By far, the most important thing in my life is Christ, and if I were to live in a country where I could not freely honor Him with my life, it would be life-changing. As well as being thankful for freedom and salvation through Christ, I am very thankful for my family. I could never do anything to them that would make them stop loving me; I am so thankful for them.
Taylor Pieper: I am thankful for my life, and everyone who is in it and what is in it. I’m thankful for everything that happens, because everything happens for a reason.
Sasha Edwards: I am thankful that whenever I feel like running away from everything, my friends are there. I used to take it for granted, but now I realize that I have the greatest friends anyone could ask for. I am grateful that they take the time out of their days to talk to me and offer a kind word, and that I may offer them a hand in their times of need. Thank you, too!
Pablo Pascoe: Ah, so much to be thankful for ... I’m thankful for having friends who I know are always there for me. I’m thankful for family, and in a sort of way, fate, for making me who I am today. I’m thankful for (and this is gonna sound weird) Momfuku Ando, the creator of Instant Ramen, for spending over a year in his backyard perfecting such an amazing idea. I’m thankful for modern medicine and technology, for obvious reasons. I’m thankful for my job at the Teen Center, because the place and people have become a second home to me. I’m thankful for Mary Jo, in helping me become who I am. I’m thankful for the idea this country was founded upon, even though we stray from it. And lastly, I’m thankful for tomorrow, for giving me the opportunity to better myself every day. I’m also thankful for the many rehearsals we’ve had as Real-Talk Performers, because those are memories that will always stick with me; Funny times, excellent messages, scenes that pull at heartstrings ... Yeah, good times
Chelsie Kelley: I’m thankful for the support that I have received while being in college and the support that I have given to others. I’m thankful for the chance to be the best person I can be, and the chance to better myself and others. I’m thankful for my family for always being there for me and my decisions, and I’m thankful for my boyfriend and his family also being supportive of both of us while I’m in college and he’s in the military. I’m thankful for all of my friends for being there when I needed them, and I’m also thankful for Mary Jo, and the wisdom that she has given me about life.
John Berdine Jr.: I’m thankful for my friends and for everything I could do nowadays and I’m thankful for my mom, my dad, and my grandma.
Morgan Pieper: I’m thankful for having the BEST friends in the whole world, the most understanding and loving family I have, even though I haven’t been to my church in a while, I will ALWAYS be thankful for what they do and what they have done to help me out. I’m thankful to be able to go to school, and have a meal on the table every day, I’m thankful for the second chances I get from God by waking up in the morning, I’m thankful to have this big peer group to go to when I need someone to talk to. And last but certainly it least, I’m thankful for you Mary Jo for always being there, and being the most understanding women I have ever met!
Serena Green: I am thankful for the friends I have, especially the few who have helped me through all the drama and fiascos recently. I’m also thankful for my music, for without it there is no way I would be sane. I thank Mary Jo and Peer Educators for giving me a chance to just be me, and I love you all.
Emmett Patterson: I think when you’re growing up, you neglect to leave your family out of the list of things you’re thankful for. When I was younger, that’s exactly what I was thankful for: things. But now, living 250 miles away from my family and friends, I’ve grown more thankful for them every day. I’m incredibly thankful for my parents who have never stopped supporting me. I’m thankful for those in my family who are working together to make up for lost time. I’m thankful for my friends and boyfriend who are back making Pittsburgh a place I can still call home. However, this year, I’m thankful for the new people I’ve met and the new family I’ve made in DC. They continue to help me grow up and make me a better person every day.
Brittany McGary: I’m thankful for my family, most importantly my niece Kendra who never fails to make me smile. I’m thankful for my friends who are ALWAYS there for me no matter what. Also, I’m thankful for Mary Jo and the Teen Center. Mary Jo is always there and goes out of her way to help anyone in need. Overall, I’m thankful for just being alive. Life truly is an amazing thing.
Halee Novak: I’m thankful for still being here today. For my dad having walked back into my life. For having a roof over my head, for having food, for having love. I may have lost a lot in the past year, but I am thankful for having the things that I have left in my life.
Anonymous: I am thankful for my friends because they are awesome and are there for me if I wanted and for all the good times we have. I am thankful for school because my classes teach me something new every day and it gives me something to do. I am thankful for Wash Arts. I am thankful for the Teen Center because without it my social life probably wouldn’t be so social as it is now. I am thankful for the Internet - I can never be bored with it. I am thankful for my eyesight (without glasses) because I see the world differently than everyone else can and it’s a nice change from seeing clearly. I am thankful for my ability to write because I would have gone mad without writing. I am thankful for music because it’s perfectly amazing. I am thankful for the world being diverse because without diversity everything would be boring. I am thankful for where I live because it’s a nice and quiet area. I am thankful for my dog because she’s like the little sister I never had but always wanted. I am thankful for humor because it really brightens up one’s day. I am thankful for the times I’ve ever made anyone feel better because making someone happy is truly awesome. Oh! Also, I am thankful for video games, especially the Legend of Zelda and Mario ones because they can take me to another world while I play. I am thankful for the show “Avatar: the Last Airbender” because it’s just so awesome and uplifting. I’m thankful for video games and my love of them! Though I guess that falls under technology. I am thankful for my freedom and the rights I have as a U.S. citizen. I am thankful for my health. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for knowing who I am and what I want at such a young age.