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Several ways for you to help the Youth Assistance Program

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

Unbeknownst to many, we have a great strength to many within our communities, a vital asset and an untapped resource: our youth. Young people are brimming with potential, they are insightful and can bring clarity to communities often burdened and stressed. In fact, research shows that kids bonded with the communities are less likely to get involved with the criminal justice system.

When I was growing up, finding volunteer opportunities and community service projects to participate in was easy and in fact, such volunteer work played and important role in shaping who I am today. Now, however, youth are having a much more difficult time because community organizations face increasing liability issues, as well as economic pressures of underfunding and under staffing. One program I know of that remains dedicated to finding community service opportunities for young people is the Youth Assistance Program, providing juvenile court diversion and prevention services to the communities of Northfield and Tilton.

People often think, "What can I do? Well we all have something to share! Do you have a special talent? Are you someone who could teach kids how to quilt? Do you need posters, signs or artwork made? Could you hang signs in your business window for upcoming events? Would your business sponsor a box for charitable donations? Are you interested in supervising youth on a hike to pick up litter? Do you have any personal story that could benefit youth? Have you overcome disability, hardship, or other adversity in your life? Did you face unforeseen consequences from a decision you made as a youth? Would you like to talk to kids about your experiences?

If you don't want to meet with the kids that's fine too. The Youth Assistance Program has many alternative forms of students, including a notebook for of personal stories from inmates. Are you interested in sharing your story  or contributing in some other way? For more information or to get involved call Dawn Shimberg, director of the Youth Assistance Program at 286-8577.

If you know of someone who could benefit from juvenile court diversion or prevention services at the Youth Assistance Program have them stop by the Tilton, Main Street location and/or pass on the phone number.

Kendyl Smith