#21 "The World Needs Us So Desperately"
A revolution is a movement that turns something completely around. We have heard about the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the Digital Revolution. My last call was with Amelia Franck Meyer who began a revolution of her own - a Child Welfare Revolution. She is the founder and CEO of Alia. Alia works to avoid the out-of-family placement of children by disrupting the foster care system and decreasing the separation of children from their families. They are leading a child welfare revolution to better the lives of children for decades to come. (https://www.aliainnovations.org/)
Amelia’s first job after college was working in a children’s group home. She washed the dishes, folded laundry and helped with homework. While working there, she started to realize how important families were to the children, and staff members working shifts couldn’t replace that need. She wondered why the children were allowed to do weekend home visits but couldn’t live with an actual family. This first job experience impacted Amelia. What she learned there stayed with her and drove her to make a change. Eventually, Amelia became the CEO of a foster care agency. She knew these children needed a sense of belonging, so she focused on making it happen. At that agency alone, Amelia took the success rates of placing children in foster care back with their families from 34% to 84%. Amelia and her team wanted to see the same success rates across the entire country. In 2016, Alia—which means “called to a better way”—was formed with sights set on transforming all organizations across the country who are entrusted with the welfare and wellbeing of children.
People will say to Amelia, “What are you doing? You can’t change the foster care system.” Every time, she responds “Um, who’s going to do it then?” This spunky comeback defines Amelia’s thoughts. She understands that the system is going to continue to separate so many children a year from their families...unless, she decides to change it. Amelia has set out to change how people think to help people understand that children should not be safe from their families but safe with their families. Despite any doubts others have, I believe that Amelia is revolutionizing the child welfare system.
So, what can we learn from Amelia? We can learn to find OUR thing. Our “thing” can be defined as the problem in this world we believe needs a revolution. Some of us will be working on saving the polar bear habitats, some of us will be working on saving the earth, some will be working for homeless animals, and Amelia will be working on the child welfare system. Amelia mentioned to me that the greatest piece of advice she could give a sixteen-year-old is that the world needs us so desperately. She said that we all need to dream as big as we can and to follow those dreams wholeheartedly. If you do that, you will find yourself changing the world.
There is not a play book on how to change the world. It is simply a decision. In this blog, I haven’t talked about Amelia’s high school self, yet. This is because Amelia as a high schooler was not any different than you and I. She was in student council, took geometry, and had a longing for graduation. Since then, she has bettered this planet significantly by making a choice - making a choice to help children and families. Her decision lead to starting a revolution. Stop looking for that playbook and realize that your dreams could turn into your own kind of revolution and a better world for us all!