I ran into a family friend the other day. This person has been retired for a couple of years now and he was wondering what kind of work I was doing these days. During our conversation he said something along the lines of wanting to be a positive influence on his community’s youth, but didn’t know how to go about it because he and his wife were traveling a lot, so he couldn’t commit to a program or mentoring.
That really got me thinking and as he talked some ideas popped into my head, which I shared with him.
I suggested to him that being a positive influence and supportive community can take countless forms. If you have lots of time to dedicate to helping youth, then wonderful. But if not, there are many small to big ways you can still make an impact, even if it might not seem obvious or flashy.
First, I encouraged him to use his connections to support youth initiatives and funding in his community. Attend fundraisers, ask local government to support youth programs, be supportive to the schools and education, serve on the board of a youth-serving nonprofit, assist the school board, volunteer at school events, discover other ways to support the good works already being done on behalf of the youth in his community.
I also mentioned that there are even more subtle ways to show youth that their community is behind them. I suggested attending local schools events such as, but not limited to: concerts, musicals, plays, sporting events, fundraisers, award ceremonies, etc. Even if there are no children, grandchildren or nieces and nephews involved, just having the adult community come out to these events will show the young people that the community is behind them, supporting them and their activities. And who doesn’t like to be able to perform in front of a larger, encouraging crowd of fans?
Don’t ever think that because you might not have as much time as you might think you need to be a positive impact on youth in your community that there is nothing you can do at all. Look for little ways and even little things to show your support and begin building a community that is known for valuing the youth and their future. Showing support in any way fosters a supportive environment and a caring community.