Youth Support

There are many vulnerable populations in our community. But one of the most vulnerable is our youth. Around the ages of 10 and through 18, I believe kids are being left behind. They age out of many of the city programs and have very limited leadership opportunities. I have led over 20 girls between two girl scout troops for the last 6 years. When I started, I thought the girls would be in it for the crafts and the gossip, but it turned out they were hungry for real community activism opportunities. At their request, we have donated time, goods, and services to dozens of community organizations. They have implemented community environmental programs and presented them in front of town boards. These types of youth opportunities should not be all volunteer based. The city needs to help provide this type of support that creates hope and positive environments. 

Fortunately, the infrastructure for such support already exists. With careful restructuring and limited funding, we can establish safe spaces where kids and teens can socialize, while also incorporating wrap-around services. Advocating for themselves can be challenging for young individuals, which is why it becomes crucial for us to reduce the stigmas associated with mental health and embrace gender and sexual diversity. By offering these safe spaces, we can extend a helping hand to many kids who feel scared, isolated, and marginalized within our society today. Our dedication should extend to protecting children from all walks of life, regardless of their income levels or ages.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has added an additional layer of stress and hardship to children's lives, the full effects of which we have yet to fully comprehend. The isolation they have experienced is real, and they have had to confront issues like cyberbullying, unrealistic beauty standards, overwhelming academic pressure, increased exposure to violence and trauma, lack of physical activity, and the unsettling reality of climate change.

We must acknowledge that children represent the most important part of our future. By prioritizing their well-being, we invest in the betterment of our society as a whole.