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Community Meeting Focuses on Proviso Youth

October 30, 2015 01:40 PM
More than 70 community leaders from across Proviso Township gathered at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy on Thursday, October 15, to discuss ways to strengthening youth in Proviso.
Organized by the Strengthening Proviso Youth committee in collaboration with Proviso Township High Schools District 209, the meeting examined different ways that leaders and organizations including libraries, schools, and individual communities can engage youth to be their very best.
"There were 70 leaders who by their presence and participation demonstrated that they are committed to helping all Proviso youth grow up in a safe, supportive, and thriving community and become career or college ready," said Ms. Pat Shehorn, chair of the Strengthening Proviso Youth committee. "They showed amazing energy and commitment, and we thank them for their support."
The meeting was highlighted by Ms. Karen Atkinson, executive director of Children First in St. Louis, Park, Minnesota. Children First is a group that is focused on developing youth in St. Louis Park through the 40 Developmental Assets as developed by the Search Institute. The developmental assets include traits such as having strong support through family and the community, young people serving in the community, and youth being committed to learning and making good decisions, among others.
Ms. Atkinson said that youth need to hear that they are appreciated.
"Instead of focusing young people’s problems, we focus on their strengths," she said. "Instead of saying youth are absorbing our resources, say they are our resources."
The community leaders then divided into groups based on their communities and discussed ways to build into youth. Participating in the discussions were Mrs. Theresa L. Kelly, Board president, and District 209 Board members, Ms. Teresa McKelvy and Mr. Ned Wagner.
"In order to build into our youth and to help them grow into successful adults, we need the support of the community," Mrs. Kelly said. "I thank everyone for coming out and supporting our youth."
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209 and a member of the Strengthening Proviso Youth committee, echoed those thoughts, saying that schools cannot support youth on their own.
"It takes a community to meet youth where they are," he said. "Schools cannot do it alone, and children cannot do it alone. It has to become more of a partnership of the youth, schools, families, and the community. This type of effort is a great show of community support."
For more photos from the meeting, please click here.


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