It is no secret that St. Louis—Wyman’s home for nearly 120 years—has recently experienced an eruption of pain and frustration rooted in the region’s history and story of inequity. More than a century ago, Frank Wyman and his colleagues sought to create a safe space, which is now known as Wyman Center. He was moved to act because he loved his city and knew that young people were its future. This truth remains today. Our young people deserve more, and our region needs them to succeed.
If we don’t act now, we risk their livelihood and our shared future. Their potential, and therefore our potential as a region and nation, will be stunted if we don’t support youth with the skills they need—and deserve. They will grow to be our next civic and business leaders, if we invest in them today.
I know that with partners and investors like you at our side, we can grasp that brighter future. And here’s how I know… Because every time I write you, I can pick from hundreds of teens in Wyman’s programs with incredible stories of accomplishment. They are beating the odds and achieving success. They are leading their communities today and building their skills to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Take, for example, Alexis Creamer, a recent Wyman Teen Leadership Program (TLP) graduate. Alexis and her sister are the first in their family to enter college. Growing up with a single mother who is deaf, Alexis couldn’t envision a life outside of her circumstances. But when she joined TLP, Alexis was immediately surrounded by caring adults who helped her realize she could have a brighter future—that with a support system at her side, she could graduate high school, go to college, and pursue her chosen career. She participated in community service that gave her confidence in her power to make a difference, and career exploration programming that empowered her to define her leadership journey.
With support from her Wyman coaches, Alexis blazed that path for herself. She graduated from high school with honors in 2014. And, she secured a full scholarship to Missouri State University, where she’s earning a degree in marketing and communications.
“Attending a four-year university has been the hardest chapter of my life. When I was 12-years-old and starting TLP, I couldn’t see myself here at college. No one else in my family had ever been here. It’s not that I didn’t want it, it’s that I had no idea how to make it a reality; I was overwhelmed by the process. But today, I have created a vision for myself and thanks to Wyman, I have the skills and knowledge to bring it to life. Graduating from Missouri State means everything to me,” said Alexis.
Alexis is also activating the leadership skills she learned through TLP.
- She is a member of the Diversity Recruitment Council on campus, where she advocates for the entry of more students of color on campus.
- She is a University Ambassador, which allows her to help other students like her who come to campus needing additional support.
- She shares her perspective on current events as a writer for the Black Bear publication, a newspaper representing the university’s African-American population.
- She serves as a diversity curriculum consultant at the annual National Ozark Writing Conference.
- She brings all of these experiences to Wyman teens as a mentor for those entering Missouri State as freshmen and sophomores.
Recently, America’s Promise Alliance—a national organization focused on ending the United States’ high school dropout crisis, led by former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell—selected Alexis to serve as an official trustee of the organization. In her role, Alexis utilizes her skills, background and experience to make a difference in the lives of so many others.
“To be selected to serve in this role helps me know that I truly matter, and that my struggles and hardships have a purpose. I know that I have a distinct role in combating the country’s high school dropout crisis and that I can inspire others, just like me, to attend and persist through college. I know I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Wyman helping me realize that I can use my struggles and perspective to help others.”
Today, more than 3,000 young people in St. Louis and 22,000 across the United States benefit from Wyman’s transformative experiences that empower them to succeed in learning, work and life. Alexis’ story is just one example. We’ve only scratched the surface… We need all youth to succeed as Alexis has. You can empower more teens just like her through an investment in Wyman. Your investment of $250, $500 or more will give teens the resources and opportunities they need to thrive, while also directly benefiting our community.
“Myself, my community and other Wyman teens… we wouldn’t be capable of reaching such great heights without supporters who believe in our vision, and our potential. You have recognized and helped me identify my chance to lead, transform and change communities.”
Please join us, and invest in these dynamic young leaders who are full of potential. Your dollars today can impact the lives of so many others, and can contribute to improving our communities. As Frank Wyman did before us, let us build a legacy by investing in the next generation.
For the teens—always,
President & CEO
P.S. Visit WymanCenter.org/Invest to make your investment today and learn how your dollars fund our solutions.