We fail our children when we do not provide them with safe and constructive alternatives to drugs and violence. Our youth need to be creative, to be heard, and to be understood. As parents, teachers, and law officials we need to be committed to finding solutions in our communities to interrupt the cycle of drugs and violence and engage our youth in activities that set them on the path to a better and brighter future.
Our children need us to lead them on the right path. Life is difficult enough. School work becomes challenging, hormones erupt, and our own jobs keep us from paying attention to signs of trouble. Social media and bullying is a huge issue, and sadly many of us do not see it as a problem until it is much too late.
My son loves music, creates beats and wants to one day be a DJ/Music Producer but is now associating with the wrong crowd, and slowly losing focus. New York City offers many outlets for children who want to excel in the music industry but unfortunately Orange County, NY does not. As much as I would love for my son to follow his dreams I am not too comfortable with him having to leave Upstate at such a sensitive age to do so.
Born and raised in the city I know all so well it has its ups and downs as does any community, but I still can’t let him commute such a distance when it would be more convenient to have something similar here that would help not only my son but others fulfill their dreams as they learn more about what thrills and excites them along the way.
Scratch DJ Academy, in NYC for example, boasts wonderful programs including summer camps geared at assisting young minds achieve these goals. Orange County will be a positive influence on our youth if they followed suit and created an outlet where these young minds can dedicate their free time constructively, and in a productive and structured environment they also feel safe. Programs other than the norm of basketball, hockey, dance and band should also be offered, so I am asking why not make it happen?
I have searched the web to no avail for programs near my area and convenient enough for my son to attend and am stumped at every turn. The program I am seeking is not offered. Middletown, NY offers an afterschool program for ages 11-18 for residents only, the YMCA offers it in our area for grades 6-8 only and MW HighSchool, has a great activity line-up, but not one that interests my son one bit. All kids should be asked in beginning of school year to jot down their interests and future goals and with this program directors can know which programs are worth initiating and which ones will further enhance their youth’s commitment to school. It is knowing your children and what makes them happy that truly matters, so why not make this something to fight for, and truly improve on.
Therefore, I am reaching out to our MW Superintendent Elsie Rodriquez, Governor Cuomo, Senator Schumer and all Orange County Officials to make this a fight we work on together. High School parents and their teens who seek outside activities that will keep them away from drugs and violence is a must. Let’s not let them down.
A Concerned Parent
MW HS Student