“It’s better to walk alone than with a crowd going the wrong direction.” – (Diane Grant)
I love that saying by Diane Grant. It is such a strong endorsement about doing what is right, even in the face of unpopularity. For many young people the choice to buck the trend or direction of the crowd that they have been running with feels like walking alone. It’s not, of course, but it is walking without those around you that you may have felt were your friends and whose support you always counted upon. It can seem that to turn away from that crowd is to be alone.
That’s why programs like the Huron Valley Youth Assistance Program are so important. My wife and I attended their annual fund raising event, A Taste of the Valley, Thursday night. Last year it was great to get to talk with some of the counselors and some of the kids who’ve been helped by the program. If there was one consistent theme that I got out of the discussions with the kids that I met, it was that the counselors and mentors and other volunteers in there program were there for them and gave them the strength and encouragement to turn and walk against that crowd that was headed in the wrong direction.
Many kids realize that what they are doing or the direction that they are headed in is wrong; but they don’t see any way out. It is a frightful and lonely feeling to realize that in order to do what is right, you have to give up those “friends” who have been leading you and encouraging you in the wrong direction. If there is nothing there it grab on to, it feels like a blind leap of faith to go against the grain. The YA Program offers that hand to hold onto through its counseling and mentoring and activities. When it comes down to “who can I turn to?” – the YA program offers an answer.
The event last night was a success with great support by the local restaurants that provided the “Taste of the Valley” and nice prizes to be won in the silent auction. If there was a disappointment to last night it was just that there weren’t enough people there. This is a program that should be better supported by the community because few things are more important that the future of our children. I will certainly try to figure out if there is some way that I can help make it even more successful in years to come.
A day earlier I attended the Community Breakfast at the Carl’s Family YMCA. It was well attended and had a great keynote speaker – Terry Woychowski, Vice President at American Axle – who spoke about “The importance and impact of Community”, especially on our youth.
The Community Breakfast is the kick-off for the Y’s annual fund raising to support its scholarship program. The Y scholarships are provided to allow participation by kids who otherwise couldn’t afford to participate in many of the Y activities, like swimming, soccer, and other team sports programs. Like the YA programs these are intended to give kids healthy alternatives to activities that might be taking them in the wrong direction or t having no activities at all.
The common theme through this week’s youth oriented events is that there is a community support and community programs aimed at providing alternatives to those who choose to turn away from crowds going in the wrong direction. In fact, the message really is that you don’t have to walk alone when you make those choices – the community is behind you and beside you. I hope that you can support both of these worthy efforts. They are aimed at helping and nurturing our most important community assets – our youth. The fact that our community supports both of these effort gives credence to a quote that I’ve used here before –
We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future. – Franklin D. Roosevelt