02/24/11 — No lost youths: Program has right idea -- show young people how to cope now

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No lost youths: Program has right idea -- show young people how to cope now

The Goldsboro Police Department's new GREAT program leader is determined to reach as many Wayne County children as possible -- before they actually have to face a choice that could permanently affect their lives.

The program teaches students while they are still young how to handle peer pressure, bullying and how to avoid the lure of drugs and gangs.

And it is exactly the sort of program we need -- in all county schools.

Reaching young people before they have made a first mistake is critical. Even if they do not have the parents they need to teach them right from wrong, if they have a teacher, a mentor, a role model or someone to show them the right way, they could have the skills they need in place to resist temptation or pressure.

And that means we just might have fewer juvenile offenders and more young people who are on the path toward happier, healthier and more productive lives.

Getting the funds together to expand the program -- and to get the personnel necessary to make this instruction available to many more county and city children -- should be one of the topics of discussion in the March meeting planned to discuss the future of black youths.

This is the sort of program that could help them -- as well as children of all races who face challenging circumstances at home.

Programs like this are proactive responses to the call that something needs to be done to get Wayne County's children focused in the right direction.

And they are the kind of efforts that deserve our support -- and our tax dollars.

Published in Editorials on February 24, 2011 11:04 AM