Monday, December 17, 2012

Complex Problem - Helping Youth from Birth to Work

The shooting last Friday in Conneticut demonstrates again how many different challenges our world faces as we look for ways to keep all kids safe and help all kids develop their full potential and become contributing adults.

I've used maps in the past to point to high poverty areas, and point to research and media articles showing that kids living in areas of big city and rural poverty face greater challenges because there is less community wealth and too little social capital linking these kids to live beyond poverty.

Yet we're reminded over and over that kids who live in middle class and affluent areas have their own social and emotional problems, need extra help in school and need the extra attention of adults beyond the family.

I have collected so many ideas over the past 35 years that when I meet with people in one-on-one meetings I'm overflowing with information to the point that I overwhelm and confuse. Thus, I've begun creating a handout that people might use following a meeting to look at the ideas I am talking about, with some degree of sequence and growing depth of understanding.

In the four-part strategy essay I've posted on this site, I show a need for facilitators to help other people find, understand and use this information. The graphic below shows many actions that need to be supported by many people and by a wide range of resource providers.

I think this entire strategy should be duplicated to focus on kids who live in affluence, as a parallel system to one that focuses on kids living in poverty. If I can find resource providers to continue to build the strategies I describe above, I would find it an honor and a tremendous opportunity, to connect with those wanting to build this parallel system.

In the Bible there is a story about how Jesus was asked "how do we pray?" and he answered with the Lord's Prayer. The "lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil" part is a prayer we each start each day with and hope that at the end of the day we and none of our friends and family have fallen victim to tragedy or evil doings.

I pray that we all find peace and deliverance from evil in the coming days, weeks and months. I also pray that more people will step forward with generous amounts of time, talent and money to intentionally make this safety available to more kids in both rich and poor parts of this world.

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