Most teen youth development programs focus on the wrong goals. They focus on keeping teens away from negative influences by providing alternate activities for these teens to engage in. While this is a noble cause and it is done with the best of intentions, these programs fail to get to the heart of the issues that teens face. These programs fail to impact the lives of those youth by helping them understand who they are and what it means to be a young adult growing and maturing into adulthood in the community they are a part of. This is the kind of guidance teens need. They don't need distractions or opportunities to engage in other activities. Before these programs can have value, the kids involved need to understand what truly matters in life, what truly matters in this world. You can try to instill a sense of self worth in a young adult if he or she has been raised to believe that nothing he or she can do will ever have any value or purpose. You simply can't. You have to first break down the negative ideas that have been built up by social and familial voices over time. This is not an easy thing to do. It doesn't happen overnight. And it definitely doesn't happen through mere distraction.
We need to help our teens discover themselves safely as they emerge from childhood into adulthood. This is a highly volatile time of life. Anyone who has gone through it before understands this. Those of us who have successfully navigated the choppy waters of this transition ought to take it upon ourselves to help those who are now going through it. We need to make sure we are prepared, as communities, to do this effectively. This is not an option. This is a necessity. The future health of our communities depends entirely on whether the young adults currently reaching maturity are able to function as well adjusted members of society. But more than this, the future lives of these teens will be determined by the choices they make and are able to make during these critical formative years. Do we care enough to invest our time and efforts into the lives of these hurting young adults?
At Sholove International, we absolutely do. This is why we get up in the morning. The programs we run for the teens in our communities are designed to help them rediscover themselves and attain a solid, secure sense of identity. Teen youth development is the most important thing we focus on at our organization. We've made it our goal to bring stability to hurting youth everywhere. Join with us to help make a difference in the world.