Youth violence is summed up in one statement: “We’re hungry and all that you have given us is an appetizer to appease our appetite to stop the rumbling. You have not given us the full meal to make us full and this is why we keep coming back.”
As long as the kids do not have any activities, they do not have a mentor and they do not have the community engaging into their lives then they will continue to “just have fun”. Yes, it was said and they have the right to say it. Why? Because they have asked, they have begged and the only response we can provide is to take away after school activities. What will that resolve? It will only enlarge their territory to do more damage. Then who will we blame again, the kids.
We are not listening to their cry. No, we cannot save all kids but we can save more than what we have now. It was a time when you had drama class, ROTC, youth activities, more sports activities that did not cost parents their arms, legs and a kidney to get their child involved. It’s understandable that the economic status has changed and income is much needed but when you charge so much, you are denying the students who are in low poverty level to be involved. Those are the kids you need to touch.
We make excuses all the time about what students are doing wrong but how many are out on the front line without charging as much if any, to make a change and help? Taking away after school activities and not letting programs in the school is not the answer. During a forum with 6 teens, they stated if they had a mentor or if they had more sustainable and consistent community leaders who cared about their success, they would be less likely out on the streets. They want adults to be held accountable for their child’s actions, they want adults to install common sense and make them conscious of their activities and behavior and most importantly they actually know there are repercussion but they also know they will not be held accountable for it; therefore, they will continue to do so.
Kids are yearning for that responsible role model, that person that will hold them accountable for their actions, that leader that will be there to show the right path and that parent that actually cares. Now what will you do to make a change? Will you continue to give them a nugget happy meal or will you start giving a Filet Mignon? Stop whining and do something!