Updated: Dec 20, 2021
Everything I know about Godzilla, Bruce Lee, Speed Racer, Ultraman, and the Incredible Hulk, I learned from my younger brother Pope. He lived in that world. Every now and then, I would make brief forays into the monster/superhero realm purely out of necessity, but that was my brother’s preferred domain. That’s where he excelled. Growing up, we only had one TV, so we had to learn to compromise. I’d have to watch Godzilla fight somebody or Bruce Lee fight somebody or Ultraman fight somebody while I waited my turn to change the channel to my favorite TV show. As I watched my brother punch and kick in sync with Godzilla as they both battled Rodan, I learned some valuable life lessons.
None of my brother’s heroes ever met a villain that was easy to defeat. No matter how ultra Ultraman was or how incredible the Incredible Hulk was, they always encountered bad guys who seemed capable of taking them out. But just as it seemed all was lost, somehow the Hulk managed to defeat his foe! Speed Racer ended up getting across the finish line first! Godzilla saved the world! It always worked out that way without fail. After watching umpteen epic hero battles with my brother, it occurred to me that it’s not necessarily a hero’s strength that enables him/her to overcome. Oftentimes, their opponents are just as strong as if not stronger than they are. What makes a hero a hero is that they refuse to give up. Even when down, even when counted out, even when all seems lost, heroes rise up. The battle isn’t over until they win!
The world as we knew it changed in 2020. Organization that couldn’t adapt became extinct. Instead of focusing on what we couldn’t do because of the pandemic, CSS focused on what we could do in spite of the pandemic. No, our success coaches couldn’t get into schools like we’d done in the past, so we adapted. No, our Restorative Justice Program couldn’t do Teen Court like we’d done in the past, so we adapted. No, we couldn’t host fundraisers like we’d done in the past, so we adapted. Back in 2020, when this all began, who knew that a year and a half later, at the end of 2021, heading into 2022, we’d still be dealing with a pandemic? Who knew? Yet here we are. Are we battle weary? Maybe in some respects, but we’re just as determined today as we
were back then to keep fighting. The youth in our community need us to keep fighting. Our commitment to our community won’t allow us to do anything less.
As we head into a new year, we have no doubt that 2022 will have its challenges. No doubt it will. Once again, I took a foray into my brother’s superhero world. I brought back visuals of what the attitude of the CSS staff looks like as we head into the New Year. To 2022, the staff of CSS says, “Bring it!!!” We have every intention of continuing to serve our community. We look forward to partnering with you on this journey. Have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Barbara I. Nelson
Restorative Justice Program Director