Friday, August 7, 2009

Let The Secret Out

Last night I was invited to a dinner for the non-profit organization I used to work for. Because I was a part of a very special program, it is very close to my heart. I was very saddened to learn that things do not look good for our program in the little old state of RI as far as funding is going. I decided to write a letter to our local papers and magazines in hopes of spreading the word and rekindling some excitement about it. The article follows and I urge all you parents of tweens and teens to find out if this program exists in your state. It is definitely something worth looking into for your kids.

I am a parent. Some would say that I am a parent of the two worst kind of species . . . a tween and a teen. Although I must admit that my life’s adventure in this endeavor has become more of a roller coaster than a carousel as of late, I most often tend to disagree with this premise.
As I have entered this phase of parenthood, with a mixture of wonderment and anxiety, I find that my home has become the local gathering hole and my car the local mode of public transportation. I don’t mind this so much, because this way, I can stealthily keep an eye on the goings on of the local juveniles.
As the designated chauffeur to and fro for most of the outings for this group of moppets, I have heard many an interesting conversation. When driving a pack of kids around, if you stay quiet enough, they tend to forget you are there. I have heard some disconcerting information, some crazy conversations and some absolutely brilliant ideas. From a discussion on the blueprints of a toilet in a briefcase to world peace, this generation has some pretty innovative and interesting views and ideas about the world around them. I find that they are just a little lost and don’t have anyplace for their voices to be heard.
Enter Rhode Island Teen Institute. Rhode Island Teen Institute, now celebrating its 20th year anniversary, still seems to be a well-kept secret. This actually surprises me because in a state such as Rhode Island, people seem to know everything about every happening in the near vicinity. I have discovered that this is not so with RI Teen Institute. I don’t know how or why, but very few people have actually even heard of this amazing program.
As I stated earlier, I feel that the tweens and teens today are so much more than a video game/internet addicted generation. They are smart and innovative and are actually visionaries in every sense of the word. They have amazing plans for our future. RI Teen Institute is just the place that can help make these visions come true.
Touted as a leadership training program, with information and concrete encounters regarding substance abuse prevention, web, cell phone and internet safety, diversity, phobias, alternative lifestyles and so much more, RI Teen Institute is a potpourri of information, training and skill strengthening that gives our “lost generation” not only the ability, but the will to go forth and do what is so intrinsically a part of who they are. It helps these tweens and teens realize that they are not to blindly follow just because it is expected. It teaches them that they can be whoever and do whatever they choose in this world and that they actually have a much more profound impact on the world than they think. Their ideas, views and opinions need not be relegated to “mom’s backseat”.
If our wizened adults would stop to actually take the minute to listen, I am sure they would be so pleasantly surprised by how much our youngsters have to say. And that what they have to say actually makes a lot of sense. Sometimes, more sense than our actual leaders do. RI Teen Institute helps both adults and youth discover this premise and gives them the tools to allow this to happen.
It is quite hard to explicate on the many virtues of this amazing program. As I often do, I am finding that this is a time in which my words just simply do not suffice. It is an experience that one must live and love in order to understand. In simplest form, I could say that RI Teen Institute is a place that fosters the strengths, abilities and visions that are innate in so many of our youth today and it saddens me to see such an auspicious program go unrecognized.
So as a parent, a parent of two of the “worst species”, I urge others like me, you know who you are if you are living in the tween and teen world, to stop and find out more about this essential program and its dedicated staff. I know that you will be pleasantly surprised and maybe, just maybe, I will be joined in sharing this well-kept secret until it is no longer a secret at all. And maybe, just maybe, more of our youth will have the chance to show the world just how smart and proactive they can really be. And when this happens, I can assure you, adults of this world, buckle-up for safety, because you will see some surprising, shocking but totally awesome changes in our society as we know it.


Anonymous said...

Very well written,D!