The value of Blind Optimism
Lacrecia Eagle, better known to her colleagues as “LuLu,” has moved swiftly up the ranks of the Boys and Girls Club of America, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives and opportunities of youth from all socioeconomic backgrounds. In just over 3 years, Lulu has gone from a Teen Director, to a Club House Director, to working in administration as the Director of Resource Development for her organization.
LuLu exemplifies what personal achievement and a success driven philosophy can yield you in today’s society. At 30 years old, she has the education, experience, and passion necessary to effectively serve this country’s youth. She has proven herself to be quite the “Triple Threat.” Her next step, to obtain her MBA and continue to build Boys and Girls Club organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The path to LuLu’s success is one many of us can identify with. As a child, LuLu was exposed to onerous negative forces, from poverty and domestic violence, to racism. As a biracial child growing up poor in Spokane, Washington, she discovered at a young age that she wanted a life vastly different from those she saw around her. School was her first obstacle. With no Pre-Kindergarten classes and little emphasis on learning at home, she struggled in Kindergarten and was sent to Pre-First, a grade between Kindergarten and First grade, to help her correct her learning disabilities. LuLu surpassed the Pre-First expectations and found her passion for reading.
Reading exposed LuLu to stories not too unlike her own, stories of struggle and tragedy. However, it mostly showed her how success and triumph could change ones life. Reading became LuLu’s escape from the world around her and allowed her to dream endlessly. Reading became the key to her educational success. As LuLu improved in school, she received a great deal of positive reinforcement from teachers and staff, which she thrived on. It also helped her avoid probing inquiries about her home life, which she loathed.
LuLu developed an “I will” and an “I can” approach to life. As the oldest of four siblings, she vowed go to college and end the cycle of poverty, abuse, and teen pregnancy that her family had been caught up in for generations. LuLu set off to forge her own path.
Her attitude and awareness did not serve to be an iron shield. LuLu got pregnant at 16 and had her son, Keynin, just shy of her 17th birthday. In her junior year of high school, the odds of going to college were now against her. LuLu’s philosophy of “I will” and “I can,” however, never faltered.
Knowing her journey would be different, more difficult, and take longer than originally planned, LuLu moved forward blindly with her college plans. Taking advantage of an alternative high school program called “Career Paths,” LuLu gained paid work experience while obtaining her GED. Within a year, at age 20, she enrolled in Spokane Community College where she obtained her Associates Degree.
With the help of grant programs, family and friends willing to support her endeavors, and government assistance programs like WIC (Women Infants and Children) and housing through the Department of Children and Family Services, LuLu was able to raise her son while going to college. At 22, LuLu transferred to Eastern Washington University as a junior, and received her Bachelors degree in Psychology by 25.
Despite (and because of) the financial, family, and social obstacles she faced, LuLu succeeded in achieving her goals. LuLu never allowed the obstacles she faced along the way define who she was as a person or who she would become.
LuLu’s story is inspirational to say the least. Attributing her success to her “I will” and “I can” philosophy, and to the power of reading, in her own words, LuLu knew she had to have “Blind Optimism.”
This blind optimism, or hope in the unseen, is something we all should remember when pursuing our dreams. As Jeff Olson says in his book, “The Slight Edge: Secret to a Successful Life,” “Your philosophy drives your attitudes and feelings, which drive your actions.” Doing what others are unwilling to do, believing in what you’ve never seen, are tools we can all use on our journey of success. And utilize your resources; “handouts” are merely stepping stones that allow us to give back!
YBM applauds Lacrecia Eagle for forging her own way and for choosing to serve an organization like the Boys and Girls Club of America. The world needs more role models like LuLu!