CINspirational People: Leila Kubesch
There are people in this world who live their life with purpose, who push beyond their comfort zone because the power of what they are fighting for is much stronger than any insecurity inside themselves. They are courageous and they are leaders, and they are making this world better in their own way.
Leila Kubesch is one of those people. She is the founder of a Cincinnati nonprofit organization called Parents 2 Partners that educates and empowers vulnerable families including those with limited English, aged out and homeless youth from foster care.
Her website describes what she does this way, ”We use the language they understand and go at pace they can handle. First, we move them from a victim to victor mind-set and let them soar. We train parents, youth, and educators because maximum impact does not occur in isolation. Our aspiration is to promote cohesive informed families that support each other for the success of all.”
She and I walked through Sharon Woods one day when she shared some of her story. It began in Africa where she grew up never having owned or played with a toy. She didn’t know she was poor. “Even without a book to call mine,” she told me, “I loved possibilities. My grandmother sat me down and taught me to dream big. I believed in her words, kept the faith and am achieving my dreams.”
A year ago Leila volunteered as a court appointed youth advocate, a role that changed her path. She discovered the difficult fork in the road for foster care youth, who, at 18, find themselves alone.
“Somehow we think they can make it on their own. One child died in my own community for not getting his medication,” Leila said. “When I asked some of these children what they wanted more than anything, they said simply…a mentor.”
Think about that for a minute. These young adults trying to find their way in this complicated world just trying to get their most basic needs like food, clothing and housing met, are telling Leila what they want more than anything is an adult role model who cares.
It is their stories, their hearts and their potential that has given this soft spoken woman a strong voice. Leila has driven to Washington to meet with a Senator. She developed a web app so that foster care children can be found according to school district. She has applied for program grants and gotten them. She has educated and empowered parents, families and young people through camps, workshops, a Parent Academy.
On March 5, she told her story to a small crowd and was selected to speak at a sell out TEDxCincinnati event this year.
“A year ago, I could not speak in front of people but when I stood there looking into the crowd, I was fearless like I have never known myself to be,” she told me. “It was because I was not speaking with my mind. I was speaking with my heart and I knew I had a purpose. I knew at that moment I did not want to fail.”
Please watch Leila’s TEDxCincinnati talk below.
What is Leila’s advice to other’s? “My advice to anyone who wants to start something is not feel trapped or bound by what you are good at. Follow where your heart is and amazing things will happen.”
Learn more about Parents 2 Partners here.