Extended Family is fortunate to have the help of many wonderful volunteers who work to provide quality programs for Our Kids.  Among those volunteers is an incredible group of speakers, community leaders with diverse backgrounds, who present lessons on a wide variety of topics for our Extended Leadership Academy (ELA) programs.  

We are always uplifted watching our presenters interact with Our Kids and share their experiences of successes and challenges in their career paths.  Oftentimes, during the presentation, the speaker will share a life lesson that benefits every listener in the room, student and adult, some nugget of wisdom gained from a life well lived.  

Many ELA students are interested in art and Kevin Chitwood teaches them to turn their talents into careers in his lesson, “Can You Make a Living as an Artist?”  Kevin is a DeKalb County Artist, making a living by creating usable art with wood and electricity. Cutting and charcuterie boards are his specialty.   We expect Kevin to explain how to make a living as an artist. He takes this lesson so much further than that! 

After passing around examples of his art, he gives every student a tape measure and asks, “Who can read a tape measure?” Most of Our Kids have never used this simple tool. Kevin leads a lesson on reading a tape measure by teaching the students to measure notecards he brings, and they are especially excited when they learn that they can keep the tape measures Kevin has brought for them as gifts, which by itself is a wonderful conclusion to a unique learning experience.

While the students are examining their newest possessions, Kevin makes a simple yet profound application, “Some days, people in this world will try to tear you down. They might tell you that you can’t work at your dream job, or you won’t make good decisions. They may even make comments about you personally and try to make you feel bad about yourself. But always remember this – the only person you must measure up to is the best version of yourself. I’ve learned you can compare yourself to who you were yesterday rather than who someone else is today.”

We all need to be reminded of this regularly and are grateful to Kevin Chitwood for bringing this important message to Our Kids!  Extended Family is proud to be celebrating 20 years of helping kids by giving them the tools they need to be successful, sometimes with something as simple as a tape measure!  Together, with the help of our volunteers, we are changing lives, one child at a time.  Thank you for supporting Extended Family!  For additional information about our programs, find us on Facebook or visit our website at www.extendedfamilyhelp.org.

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