Today is the first day we implement our new Community Builders program. We'll be meeting with a small group of youth, grades 4-5, at a local elementary school and begin the process of developing their community building knowledge, skills, and confidence.
As many of us who have sought social change know, youth have a special energy and charisma that can spark long-awaited change. A simple Google search for "kids who changed the world" brings up hundreds of stories about young civil rights activists, youth starting non-profits, growing food for hungry people, and a plethora of other examples. In fact, it is difficult to recall any effective social movement that hasn't involved young people either in the ranks or in the lead.
But young people's social engagement isn't only beneficial for the communities impacted. Voluntary community service is a powerful means of growth for the youth involved. As noted in a Texas School Safety article, The Positive Effects of Youth Community Engagement, "...youth who are engaged in community efforts at a young age show better problem-solving and decision-making skills when compared to those youth who are not engaged." In addition, "...research has shown that youth who are engaged in their communities are less likely to use drugs and alcohol, less likely to drop out of high school, and less likely to be involved in criminal behavior."
So as the Lansing School District is challenged with a graduation rate under 55%,
South Lansing Ministries is excited to begin a program in which we work with members of the school staff and students. We believe it will benefit the community through greater youth engagement and achievement. Please contact Program Development Director Katie Price if you would like to learn how you can get involved.