Throughout December, we are celebrating heart-warming stories of Primrose students, staff and alumni exhibiting exceptional kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity with our Primrose Happy Hearts blog series. This post comes to us from AJ Wilson, an outstanding young leader and Primrose alumni.
Ever since I was little, I’ve had some pretty big dreams. When the other kids in preschool said they wanted to grow up to be doctors or teachers, I said I wanted to be a cowboy. My teachers at Primrose and my parents didn’t discourage me. Instead, they told me that if I wanted to be a cowboy, there was no reason I couldn’t be one.
Learning to never be afraid to dream big was just one lesson instilled from my early education experience. I also learned about language, math, music, friendship and more, which set me up for success in school. More importantly, these early experiences opened my eyes to all there was to learn about the world. And they helped me realize that I, and every other kid in my class, had the ability to do something great.
I’m thankful to have been taught at a young age that I could be and do anything imaginable, but too many kids aren’t encouraged in the same way. So a few years ago, I decided to do something about it.
Using money I earned from a summer internship with the Atlanta Bar Association, I founded Dream Chasers, a nonprofit foundation to help local middle school students realize what they are capable of achieving. We teach these students that no goal is too big to accomplish, just as I was taught many years ago.
This fall, I got to realize some of my own dreams and take steps toward new ones: I started college at Wesleyan University in Connecticut as a Gates Millennium Scholar and student athlete. I’m studying law and education to help me continue to make a positive difference in people’s lives on a bigger scale.
When I think about the things I have accomplished and the goals I’m still reaching for, I feel grateful that I grew up with a strong foundation that taught me to believe in myself and the power of my dreams. Because of that foundation I developed early on, I can now give back and empower other young adults who are just waiting to be transformed into young leaders.
Perhaps the most important lesson I learned as a child, and one that continues to guide me every day, is that no matter where we are, we can always find opportunities to help and encourage others.
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