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This week, we look at Asset #1, Support. According to the Search-Institute, “The more love, support, care and adult contacts a child has, the more likely he or she is to grow up healthy.” This same logic applies to adults, just for the record, so in essence we are community building, not just youth building.
There are actually six categories we’ll look at over the next few weeks concerning support. If you can’t remember them all, just remember this, be nice and really give a darn about someone else.
In a perfect world, each family, whatever it looks like, would sit down at the dinner table at least once this week and identify what three ways the family supports each other. If those conversations come too hard, then try and think from a youth perspective what they might need and fill the gap.
Kids need to see adults model this for them and demonstrate the need for their support, too. This week, the neighbors on my block supported me in a community effort by making baked goods for a bake sale. The bake sale was successful and as a result, I’m on my way to a very large goal.
The kids in your neighborhood should see adults in their life doing something for others with no real benefit to themselves. You can take this idea one step even further by doing something nice for someone else and receive no credit for it. You can perform random act of kindness everyday for little or no expense.
One of my favorite moments was working at a radio station, where some listeners had just loaded the front porch of a family going through a hard time with gifts. They didn’t know how to get the family to open the door so everything didn’t get stolen during the night.
The gift givers called the radio station and asked me to call the family and tell them to open the front door. The secret surprise team then hid in the bushes nearby and waited until the family took in the gifts. It must have been a blast for the people to hide from sight, but behold the sheer joy of the moment from the perspective of the family.
There are lots of people going through some pretty tough times in this community and around the world. There are many organizations here to help depending upon the support someone is in need of at the moment. LA Cares offers food, Self Help, Inc. offers a variety of resources and the Youth Activity Centers offer free supervised youth services for kids in third through eighth grade.
Support looks different to everyone, so it might be counseling services or alcoholics anonymous groups for teens or adults. It also might be something more fun like a Big Brothers Big Sisters school- based friend for a child at the elementary level.
There’s never too many people that care about you during any point in your life and you never know if you are that means of support for another person.
When it comes to your children or youth in the neighborhood, find a way to connect with them and support their goals. If you own a local business, try and go the extra step in making youth feel like a valuable customer in your store. The recent Youth Mobilizers survey tells us they have plenty to spend.
Most important, people should try to support youth in their job choices for the future. While they might want to be the next Guitar Hero World Record holder or the next Hannah Montana, they will probably change their mind within the next week so let it ride.
A commercial on television recently shows a mom making dinner to celebrate a fifth place trophy win for her daughter. At the moment, I couldn’t tell you what the product is, but it catches my attention every time I see it. As adults, wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate the little things more often and we probably should start today.
Bernadette Lauritzen is the Coordinator of the Assets In Action program, sponsored by the Juvenile Justice Advisory board and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce. A miniature golf fundraiser, where residents can golf through local businesses is planned for February 28th. Please listen to AM 1490, check out the Monitor and www.AssetsInAction.info or call 661-4846 for more information.