At the Regional Youth Violence Prevention forum, teens from across the community shared their insights on what would make a difference in reducing violence in St. Louis. One unanimous request from teens:
“Validate what we do well, and share positive stories about teens.”
Their words echo the research, and ring true in every community. Holding and supporting young people to high expectations is a powerful and necessary contributor to their positive development, while low expectations and assumptions are leading risk factors for negative behavior. In other words, consistent and negative press and discussions about teenagers will only exacerbate the problem.
Together, let’s change the conversation! At Wyman, we personally know hundreds of young people in St. Louis, who are doing great things for themselves and their communities. We know tens of thousands of teens across the country in Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) that are rising above their circumstances and achieving some truly amazing things:
In recent weeks, a group of teens in Wyman’s TOP® spent a day with children in a local day care, leading them in activities, singing songs, playing games, and being great mentors and role models. Meanwhile, their classmates were busy preparing for an upcoming service project, in which they’ll conduct conservation projects with grade school students.
Another group provided structured activities and lots of Valentine’s Day fun for students at an early childhood education center while parents participated in the school’s PTO meeting. Their consistency in volunteering to provide childcare at this school has significantly increased parent participation in PTO meetings!
We’re immensely proud of the contributions and success of Wyman teens. And like these young people, many others are being productive, giving back, and are positively engaged in their communities.
Do you know someone who needs to hear about the great contributions teens make in our community? Please pass this along, or share another positive story about a teen you know!
Together, we can support and encourage teens to make a real difference, and it can start by acknowledging and rewarding their success