Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Greatest Love of All

“I believe the children are our future;
Teach them well and let them lead the way;
Show them all the beauty they possess inside;
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier;
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be...” 
- Whitney Houston

Early this year, the world stood still as we mourned the death of influential pop star and musical talent Ms. Whitney Elizabeth Houston. In the subsequent aftermath of her passing, I participated in several heated debates about her public life. However, I've noticed that all the people I've debated  Houston's life and death with have one thing in common - we all adore her version of "The Greatest Love of All".  Written in the late 70’s, the song is over 30 years old, but managed to find its way into my professional passion. 

No longer a young  person, I am now consumed by reports, deadlines, emails and observations in my professional life, I sometimes forget what it felt like when I was a teenager. Sometimes I was confident and secure in my choices at that age. At other times I wandered aimlessly and was confused about what to do next.

Fortunately, I was surrounded by a team of parents, church members and school counselors who equipped me with the tools I needed to make proud and responsible choices. 

This is what I love about the evidence-based program, Making A Difference. Two of the program's goals are to:
  •  Increase participants’ ability to identify realistic goals for their future
  •  Increase participants’ confidence about making proud and responsible decisions to protect themselves and their community from STD’s and unintended pregnancy.
To some, these goals may be just the lyrics to another pop song, but to me it is a charge to do my very best while working for the young people of South Carolina.  Teaching the children of this state about their potential and helping them find their senses of pride will ensure all our futures. This realization has given me an imperative I'm passionate about - Making A Difference is one of the "Greatest Loves of All."
- Meredith M. Talford, MPH, CHES, is the Upstate Training and Technical Assistance Specialist. E-mail Meredith at

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