Draft's Picks

Shayla B. - "The Blind Side" Buffalo, N.Y.

I'm no Michael Oher, Fantasia Barrino, or Chris Draft. Who am I? I'm Shayla, a little person with big dreams, dreams that I've dreamt of since I was a little girl. Now I have inspiration from many former normal people like me who've taken the necessary steps to make their dream a reality.

Certain people have certain traits they focus on to get through their day. For me, I have a plan. When I wake up in the morning, I know exactly how I want to express myself to people. I am very hardworking, determined, and willing to try new things. I always portray myself in a professional manner, especially when I'm working in my school's restaurant. School is where it all starts, it's very important to me to show my teachers, peers, administration, and customers my determination. It's kind of like football, when I want something I hit the ground running, aware of my surroundings, eyes on the ball at all times when it's in the air. Hands up, grip it tight, cradle, protect and run! 20, 10, 5, 2, 1, TOUCH DOWN!! , and the extra kick is good. I just won't stop until my play is perfect.

"The Blind Side" is a very inspirational movie and should have an impact on everyone who sees it. Everyone can relate to at least one part of this movie no matter who you are, how much money you have, or how good you think you have it. Michael appeared to be very illiterate and ignorant, which he was, but with support he had drive, no matter how many people put him down, laughed at him and tried to stand in his way. He was determined and had people on his side to "have his back" when he became weak and unable to stand up for himself. This movie is special because it just shows that there are still caring people out there somewhere because any other person would have driven past Michael and he'd probably still be eating other peoples' left over popcorn and sleeping in the gym. That part of the movie made me feel good, because I like helping people and giving advice. I wouldn't even have the words to explain how happy I'd be if someone I didn't know took me in off of the streets, gave me a place to stay and made me part of their family, it would be a very overwhelming feeling.

Like Michael, I have many people in my life that have helped me get to where l am today. My grandma has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. She raised me and she has made me that person I am today. She has always been supportive of me ever since we've discovered my talent. I sing and perform which involves being in front of many of people, but I'm also very shy and my grandma has always been that little whisper in my ear. Still to this day, I get nervous when I have to do anything in front of a crowd of people, but I tune everything out and do what I have to do. I can thank my family for that little boost of confidence. Support is one of the best things that you could do for someone, because it shows that you care. Love is important to have, give and receive.

I've always loved helping people, and I've always been the one my friends come to when they have problems and need advice.  I love to help and encourage people because when I'm down and in need, I want people to help and encourage me. I live by the creed "Do to others what you want them to do to you." When I'm well known, I want to spend most of my off time touring schools, especially schools in Buffalo, because the BPS students need some encouragement. I'm so glad that Mr. Chris Draft decided to do this with us, I really truly appreciate it. I believe if more celebrities or people with big names visit schools and talk to students, give them some advice and encouraging words, it would get and keep lots of our teens off of the streets, in school and staying there until graduation. Celebrities, especially artists and athletes are part of teens, my age lives so with a positive lecture from them would make a more positive impact on our lives, rather than seeing them going to jail and being arrested for petty and uncivilized reasons, because many youngsters could take that the wrong way.

As I said previously, I can relate to the movie "The Blind Side" in many ways because at one point in time when I was without a mother and being raised by my grandmother and my dad. I was without a mother, because she WAS an alcoholic in and out of rehab centers. By the grace of God, she's been clean for 3 ½  years and counting.
And even though I was in a situation where I practically got everything I wanted, there was still emptiness in my heart and that was where my mom needed to be. I still felt that pain, and now that pain is gone.

Volunteering is important to regular and homeless people. I would like to volunteer at the bell center on the west side during the winter, because homeless people get meals and a warm place to stay. Going to nursing homes and spending time with older people is a nice thing to do. I go with my church all the time to sing and it makes me feel good. The Boys and Girls Club is one of the best organizations there is to me, because it's just another positive way to get young kids off the streets. I would like to start a chain of low-cost performing arts after school programs for unfortunate kids.

Everyone feels hurt at one point in time and needs encouragement. If we could just have a little sense of caring, it could change the world for the better.