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We so often hear about today's youth and their lack of direction and initiative. We see the headlines when they come in contact with the police or are involved in other nefarious activities.
However, most young people are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing--school, jobs, and extra-curricular activities. It frustrates young people that a small minority of kids who "cause trouble" get so much attention and the good that young people do in the community often goes unnoticed.
According to the Bureau Labor Statistics, volunteerism among people 16 and under has gone up since 2007. They make up about 25 percent of volunteers, based on the population.
In Stafford County schools, opportunities made available to students for service are numerous: clubs like the Interact Club and honor societies, and curriculum that has a service component--like the STATS academy, and the International Baccalaureate's Creativity, Action, and Service module.
Stafford County has a high school course, Learn and Serve, that uses the experiential learning model to promote 21st-century skills and also gives students an opportunity to become passionate about service.
Brooke Point High School has a long tradition of giving back to the community. Last year, students, with teacher guidance, volunteered in adult centers and with Special Olympics, helped the Stafford police with their DARE basketball tournament, sent cards and letters to every person aboard the USS Stennis, tutored in numerous schools, supported hospice, and built a bio-filter to clean the water going into the Chesapeake watershed.
They promoted literacy, advocated cancer research, collected thousands of pounds of food for the food bank, and raised $15,000 to build three wells in South Sudan.
The next time you see a glaring headline, my students hope you keep in mind all the good being done by young people.
Ms. Lacey is a Brooke Point High School teacher.