8th ANNUAL CHILDREN AND YOUTH SUMMIT, Barnstable High School, 3/13/2011
Did you know – I didn’t – that Barnstable County has been chosen as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People (part of America’s Promise Alliance)? Jordan LaPier, Senior Director, spoke for the group which was started by General Colin Powell, currently chaired by Alma Powell, and comprises the efforts of more than 400 corporations, non-profits, faith-based organizations and advocacy groups that are all about improving the lives of children. This is the FOURTH year Barnstable County has made the top 100. If you go to one of these Youth Summits – and I highly suggest you do – you will get a taste of the amazing work adults and teens are accomplishing together to meet the needs, issues and challenges of youth on the Cape up front and center in our communities. I was the only public librarian there (as far as I know) but libraries were mentioned several times in the Safe & Fun Places workshop that morning. I met an incredible woman over the breakfast moment from Sandwich who has been tirelessly working for better treatment for kids with addiction issues, serious addiction problems. She received a standing ovation from the audience after she spoke of her family’s anguish over her third son’s addiction problem and subsequent ‘moving of insurance’ mountains to get help for him. She now devotes time (in addition to a full time job as the fundraiser for the Mass Maritime Academy) to continuing the fight for better services for young addicts and breaking the grip of the pharmaceutical industry and their influence on the addiction crisis in prescription drugs. So, I met Trudy and then during a ‘mixer’ met Robbie Bruce who is part of a group working towards a center for teens in Sandwich, aka, the Community Youth Project. Did I KNOW about this group? No. Where do they meet? THE LIBRARY!! Now I know. There is a special energy about when one is among a large group of young people who feel empowered and encouraged to make a difference in their community or school. Next year, I’d love to get some more students from Sandwich there….Should you feel like you want to know more, look into the CAPE AND ISLANDS YOUTH CONGRESS/YOUTH FORCE (firstname.lastname@example.org), 508-790-3040.