Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Kids These Days
I recently had the pleasure and honor of accompanying one of my youth organization’s young adults to a state wide competition for a program designed to promote and recognize character and leadership as demonstrated by community service, academic performance and contributions to family and spiritual life. Young adults from organizations across our state were interviewed by a panel of judges from business, politics, and education. Our candidate did an amazing job and was hopeful to be in the final four—even tapped out an acceptance speech on his cell phone so he’d be ready, just in case.
Our candidate’s story is a fairly common one for our organization. Raised by a single mom, he and his three siblings moved to our community from a large inner-city in a neighboring state. Living with family members in a too-small apartment until public assistance kicked in, he struggled with getting to and from school, finding friends and positive social connections. This young man was faced with lots of choices: which crowd to hang out with, stay in school or drop out, become familiar with the police and court system, engage in generally asocial behavior…. Or…
Fortunately this young man found his way to our youth organization and was introduced to our teen programs. He made good friends, received homework help, learned positive ways to resolve conflict, and was given opportunities to give back. Most importantly, he was missed when he didn’t show up. His choices have led him to success in school--he is attending local community college with a goal of a career in law enforcement. He is seen as a mentor and positive role model to the young kids at our center and is looked to as the leader among the other youth program staff at our center.
I was proud to say he represented our organization.