Alexander Hamilton grew up facing almost impossible circumstances. As a young boy Alexander’s father left their family, and his mother died a few years later. He found himself, at the age of 10, living as a poor orphan in the Caribbean without any real hope for a future.
Then a hurricane devastated the island Alexander lived on and he wrote a letter in response. The letter was so eloquent that a local newspaper decided to publish it. Some businessmen read the letter, saw the intellectual potential in Hamilton, and raised money for a fund to send him to America to get his education.
I love imagining that conversation, where these businessmen sat down and spoke potential into Hamilton’s life.
“We believe in your son.”
“You have a real intellectual gift.”
“You can make a mark on this world.”
For a poor orphan kid, these words must have felt like water to a thirsty soul. These businessmen spoke potential into Hamilton, and their words changed the entire trajectory of his life.
Fast forward over two-hundred years to New York City today. Thousands of kids grow up facing almost impossible circumstances. Some grow up without parents. Many grow up in crushing poverty or with parents addicted to drugs or alcohol. Many of these kids have very little hope for a future.
Enter Graham Windham, the organization that Eliza Hamilton started in the early 1800s. For two-hundred years this organization has served families in need in New York City. They continue to embody the legacy Eliza Hamilton left, a legacy of serving and loving children in need.
Jess Dannhauser, the president and CEO of Graham Windham, had the opportunity to see Hamilton on Broadway. He was struck by a particular line that Eliza sang about the orphans she served:
“In their eyes, I see you Alexander. I see you every time.”
Jess states, “When Eliza sings that she sees Alexander in the eyes of these orphans, I see that that as her saying these kids have great potential inside of them. That spirit is what animates our work today.”
I love how the leaders and volunteers at Graham Windham invest in these kids who face overwhelming circumstances daily. They build relationships with them and speak potential into their lives, just like those businessmen did for Alexander Hamilton.
The story comes full circle. Lives that seems to have no future are given a future. And who knows what those lives might become, what impact they might have on our world? Perhaps the next Alexander Hamilton lives on the streets of New York City, with leaders from Graham Windham speaking potential into them, changing the entire trajectory of their lives.