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The one night a week that I’m almost guaranteed to have a wonderful night is Thursday.   On Thursdays, I’m generally more peaceful, more aware of the SERIOUS privilege that I have, more understanding…and just…freaking…happy.

Why? You ask?  Well it’s because of my newest little friends.  One especially, named Isela.

I met Isela about a month and a half ago, while volunteering at the Heart and Hand Center.  It’s a place for at-risk youth in Denver to go afterschool where we do crafts and play games and give the kids a place to hang out and talk about what’s going on for them. 

I know that this all sounds fun, but I can’t even express to you how fun it actually is.

When I first met Isela, she had drawn a picture of a mermaid and I was asking her about it. 

What’s her name? I said   It’s Brielle. She replied, which is kind of awesome because my roommate’s name is Brielle.  So I told her:  My roommate’s name is Brielle!

YOU HAVE A MERMAID!?  Her response was awesome, and immediately I remembered the number 1 reason that kids are so cool.  They are limitless. Why wouldn’t I have a mermaid? 

Then she taught me how to dance like Shakira, and I taught her to dance like a robot.  And thus began a great friendship. And now, everytime Isela sees me, she gets a giganto smile on her face and hugs me so genuinely.  This cool, cool kid likes me.  And you know what, I think she’s pretty badass too.

Last time I was there, a kid came up to me and said, You know, I don’t like it when people say mean things to me.  It hurts my feelings.  It seems super basic, but I can’t tell you how many adults that I talk to on a daily basis that do not understand this.  Even me (i know, you’re shocked, you thought I was perfect.)  It’s nice to have a reminder.

Every day that I hang with these awesome little people, I learn so much more than I learn from my normal every day life with douchey “adults”.  ( I don’t really consider myself an adult yet.  And if most of the dbags that I encounter in a day ARE adults, I don’t want to be one.)

Tip for opening your heart:  Hang out with people unlike you.  I mean people REALLY unlike you.  (being a Democrat and hanging out with a Republican doesn’t count.  Unless that Republican happens to be 40 years older than you, THEN you might learn something worthwhile.)

My best days are days where my friends challenge me to be an awesome person, when I’m forced to think outside my comfort zone and when I learn something valuable.

Go forth, my little loves.  Volunteer.  Do good.  And learn something amazing.