The news doesn’t always have to be bad. Evidence of positive news can be difficult to find, but there is plenty of it out there. Recently, I read an amazing piece at dailygood that inspired me to write a recap of the story.
Bill Strickland presented a TED talk recently, entitled “rebuilding a neighborhood with beauty, dignity and hope.” His message was clearly one of hope and filled with positive spirit. As the title suggests, the story he told was of redemption, both personal and community wide. Mr. Strickland began life in a rough neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He explained that during his high school years he was introduced to art, as a form of expression. In a public school art class he first saw clay taking shape and was mesmerized. The idea that the world of possibilities can be limitless took shape.
The same art teacher who showed him the world of art took another step and introduced him to college. The teacher took Mr. Strickland to The University of Pittsburgh and helped him become a probationary college student. Today Bill Strickland is a trustee of University of Pittsburgh and has become an inspiration to countless kids who come from tough neighborhoods. His message is, “don’t give up on the poor kids because you never know what’s going to happen to those children in life.”
Perhaps the crowning achievement of Mr. Strickland, so far, is the Bidwell Training Center. The center is located in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh and provides a new start to people who need job training. Mr. Strickland explains that Pittsburgh was once a major producer of steel, but the industry has long since moved away from the area. The economic toll on the community was devastating and many people were left trained for work that was no longer available. Since that time new workers have also entered the depressed employment marketplace and find it difficult to find any job that will provide them with training. The Bidwell Training Center aims to provide relief to families in this area by providing skills that are in demand in the current employment market.
Mr. Strickland went on to discuss his work for the poor and how his message has spread to other communities. His work now echoes throughout the country. I hope that it continues spreading for years to come.