Children around the world need opportunities today. Too often, their parents and communities have no idea how to provide them. A whirlpool of infinite information has swallowed nations whole, leaving confused populations that struggle to understand the emerging structures for life in the twenty-first century. How can families adapt more effectively to these changes?
In New Jersey, the Friends in Need Children’s Center has developed a range of co-curricular and extracurricular programs to inspire student confidence. For children in their tween and teen years, these initiatives build athletic competence, public speaking skills, and interpersonal resilience. In partnership with popular sports franchises and local school districts, their first year of operation reached nearly 30 young people. More local nonprofits can learn from their success and partner with them to spread these effective strategies.
The Men of Excellence in Pennsylvania focus on the ways athletic achievement builds character and leadership. With their most recent fundraiser on Saturday night, they have demonstrated a new model for how young men in a working-class community can return home and transform educational opportunities. Combining resources from sectors in the local economy that range from the educational to the financial, the Men of Excellence are the soul of optimism for children around the world who are looking for the next step forward in their lives.
On Sunday, May 4, the Creative Challenge in 3D Printing (CC3DP) was held in Queens, New York. Hundreds of students and educators dedicated the last six months to learning innovative virtual design programs like SketchUp to demonstrate the future of engineering. The students designed rockets, engines, houses, and historical landscapes that showed the flexibility and utility of the emerging technologies. Similar programs around the world are helping students contribute to cures for both cancer and hunger.
Now is the time to think big. From the Enlightenment Youth Arts Festival in Freehold, New Jersey, on May 17 through the Urban History Association’s conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from October 9 to 12, Pennsylvania students have unique opportunities to build new businesses. Parents and community leaders must come together to take new chances in pursuit of young people’s dreams. Only these new partnerships have the potential to realize these opportunities for all students.
Dr. Walter Greason is the Chief Executive Officer of the International Center for Metropolitan Growth (www.icmetrogrowth.com) and the author of Suburban Erasure: How the Suburbs Ended the Civil Rights Movement. His work is available on Twitter (@worldprofessor1), LinkedIn, Facebook, and by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).