Actor Tommy Ford attended the Real Talk Teen Forum and spoke with the Recorder about his thoughts on teens in the community.
Why was it important for you to be a part of Teen Talk?
Tommy Ford: I believe that children are our future. I think it’s very important that we empower young people and at an early age they learn just how beautiful and how powerful and how amazing they are. At an early age they learn how they have the capacity to change. So often they’re victims in their lives and say “I have to do what mama did. I have to do what daddy did.” But they actually have the power to make changes in their lives and control their destiny. So that’s why it was so important for me to be there.
What impact do you think teens have on the community?
Well I think they have a tremendous impact. You don’t believe me, take a look at the crime in a community and how many young people are involved. That affects the community. You look at the school system; it’s financed based on how many young people show up. So you see a school that’s getting poor funding it’s because they have poor participation. So our young people affect our lives tremendously because those young people will one day be older people. You show me a lazy child I’ll show you a lazy adult. You show me a young person who has low self-esteem or doesn’t feel good about him or herself and I’ll show you a man or woman who has grown up to have those same attributes. The prison system is based on the reading scores of a third grader. That’s why we take all these tests starting in third grade because they figure if you can’t read by the time you’re in third grade, you’re going to turn to a life of crime and they’re going to have a room waiting for you by the time you’re a teenager.
What is one message you want to send to teenagers?
One message I want to send to teenagers is to remember that you’ve got a job and our job is to do what we were born to do. We were born to be great we were born to be awesome we are born to be winners. The true definition of a loser is a winner that quit.