Let’s Connect with the Youth

   Last week I volunteered with the Sheriff’s department for ‘Read-a-Thon’. An event hosted annually that is geared toward reading for our youth. While I was there I encountered a Kindergarten aged boy. He was very shy when I asked him if he wanted me to read to him. He slowly shook his head ‘yes’ and came with me to pick out a book he would like to hear. I read about 2 books to him before we started a book about mice. In the book, the mice were in trouble for eating off of someone’s table. To further engage him, I asked, “what do you think will happen next?” He responded, “they are in trouble so they can go to jail. Jail is bad.” Surprised by his answer, I said, “Yes, jail is a very bad place. Will you do everything you can to not have to go there?” He responded with another nod of his head, except this nod was not the shy nod he’d expressed earlier; this one was more assuring and assertive.

I say this to say, our youth needs our help more now than they every have before. Technology is advancing everyday and there’s always a new social media outlet being developed. I’m only 20 years old and sometimes I feel like I can’t keep up with the changes. I see young girls and boys on Instagram all the time doing and saying things that they shouldn’t. Also, there’s always an article online or in the newspaper about the death of a young person. We are losing our children way too fast. We need to harness their minds and energy and direct them in paths of creativity so that they can express themselves in an environment that is conducive to their needs. But most importantly we need to show them the attention and affection that they need for positive development. If we don’t, they will try to find it elsewhere and the outcome will not be pretty.

Mentor a child. Tell them that they are pretty/handsome, smart, and tell them that they are loved. You never know the effect that a little conversation can have on a child’s life.

From me to You, Love.

Shaakira White

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