Trudi is the first to admit that she was a “difficult child.” She hated school, hated rules, and never felt like she fit in anywhere. She engaged in risky behaviors in order to feel some sense of belonging in her peer groups, all the while knowing that something just didn’t feel right.
When Trudi was 14, she got pregnant, and her whole world changed. She dropped out of school in 9th grade, and by the time she was 16, she had two children, an 8th grade education, and the feeling that she was a living every stigma and stereotype related to troubled teens. However, never one to believe in rules, neat boxes, or societal expectations, Trudi shucked the stereotype and remained dedicated to her dreams. In fact, the same obstinance that twisted her younger life into knots led to her success as an adult. She studied on her own to pass the GED, and was sitting in a college classroom the same year she would have been a high school senior. College agreed with her; she raised her two sons, worked nearly full time, and earned her BA at age 24 and her MA by 30.
Trudi attributes much of her success — at least, the chunk of it not attributed to her mindset and determination! — to the caring adults who helped her along her journey through adolescence: teachers, mentors, case workers, and coaches. In reflecting on the deep support she received, she realized that she wanted nothing more than to pay that forward, to facilitate that same kind of help for other young people walking a twisted or difficult path. These altruistic desires culminated in ScriptFlip!, an organization she founded in 2013.
ScriptFlip! trains youth to break down social scripts, challenge negative expectations, and widen the scope of possibilities that they see for their lives, despite the challenging circumstances they face every day. In addition to one-on-one youth coaching, Trudi trains staff members who in turn train youth workers, creating a cycle in which youth are able to help themselves and each other through the hardest parts of their lives.
Trudi uses the skills she honed during her coach training with YCI every single day. She uses these tools to coach her staff at work, to listen and respond to her family in a truly supportive and open way, and to coach ScriptFlip! youth. Her YCI training taught her that the solutions to our most stressful challenges are already within us, that we just need help drawing the answers to the surface. It’s a potent reminder, she says, that we are in control of our own lives — that, in fact, each person is the leading expert in his/her own life.
Trudi lives for the joy and surprise on young people’s faces when they suddenly answer their own difficult questions, and then look at her like she tricked them into answering. When that happens, she knows she’s doing her job right.
Get in touch with Trudi for coaching services, or to learn more about ScriptFlip!:
www.trudilebron.com (coming soon)
Post by Natasha Pettit of Simple Growth Consulting