Northwest NEWS

November 20, 2000


Here's a chance to make a difference

Recently I had the pleasure to accompany eight youth from the Snoqualmie Valley to the Washington State Prevention Summit in Yakima. Nikki Canday, Patty McGee, Halley Johnson, Jordan Backman from Teens Acting For Tomorrow and Renee Atkinson, Nick Verbon, Asley Overman and Hedi Lee from the Snoqualmie Valley Youth HUB.
   These youth should be commended for taking an active role in the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in the Snoqualmie Valley.
   So often adults see youth as a problem and overlook the obvious that youth are a resource in the prevention of substance abuse and violence. We as adults are naive to think we know what will prevent youth from engaging in destructive behaviors. Only by creating a vested interest with youth can the community begin to address these issues.
   So again my hat goes off to these youth and all others who are trying to make a difference by becoming involved.
   The focus of this year's prevention conference was mentoring which is a way we adults can also make a difference in the community. While growing up, a caring man who was also my troop Scoutmaster became a mentor to me, so I know first-hand what a difference a positive caring relationship with an adult can make on a youth's life without having to see all the scientific studies.
   For quite some time a fellow Kiwanian involved in mentoring had been encouraging me to become a mentor.
   My standard excuse to her was that I had too little time. But is eight hours a month too much time to take from my schedule to make a difference in a youth's life?
   Consider that the average person spends more time than that watching television in a week. I came to the realization that if I have time to watch Sports Line then I have time to be a mentor.
   "... Just one spark of decency, against the starless night. Just one glow of hope and dignity, a child can follow the light...." Neil Peart
   I encourage everyone to become a mentor, but especially men. There is such a need for positive male role models for youth, but many of the requests remain unfulfilled in the local Friends of Youth's Snoqualmie Valley Mentoring Program all because we "just don't have the time." It's not that we don't have the time, it's just that we don't make the time.
   To find out how you can make a difference, call Casey at Snoqualmie Valley Mentoring Program 425-788-8422. Rather than watching the lowlights of the Seahawks game, why not save a youth's life?
   Chuck Miller, via e-mail