indicate that incidents of violence, weapons, and substance
abuse are on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, homicide is the second leading cause of
death among adolescents aged 15-19. Here is another chilling
fact: Suicide is the third leading cause of death among
adolescents aged 10-19 years. Did I get your attention?
Much of today's violence starts out innocently enough. But
when does teasing go over the line and turn into bullying? That
is the hot topic around much of the nation. We must make our
young people aware of the choices they have when dealing with
conflicts. Given the diversity of our society, educators are
realizing that it takes an entire community to be committed to
demonstrating respect, caring, and self-management in
interactions with one another. That is part of the difficulty.
The "family unit" that many of us remember is in many cases a
thing of the past. Our young people need to belong.
Unfortunately, the need to belong often turns to a different
family unit - the gang.
It is important to recognize the signals and take measures to
listen to our youth before they turn to gangs for comfort. Once
there, it is nearly impossible to get them out. They become
consumed with the violence and try to achieve respect and love
through whatever means they have at their disposal. We have to
teach our children to identify and deal with prejudice and to
respect their own and everyone else's backgrounds and cultures.
Peer leadership interaction has worked wonders, and role
playing seems to have a positive effect on the school climate as
a whole. Veterans Against Drugs has taken on another aspect in
talking to our youth about drugs. It is how to deal with the
violence. Students and educators from different locations have
come to us and asked for help.
Our program has been endorsed by other veterans groups, the
President's Anti Drug Council, law enforcement agencies, and
educators. But we are still one person short to make it a true
success. That person is you. Call VVA national headquarters and
speak to Deborah Williams, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Make a difference in your community.