David DeRose: Help we can provide

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To the editor:

I read the Editorial Board column Saturday, and I have some observations. I think these will lead all of us to some of the answers.

I had to smile as I read the comment that all of the previous generations probably felt like we do about the condition of our future and our youth. I was privileged to be involved with apprentice training shortly after I became a journeyman, and one of my subjects was trade mathematics.

On one Saturday, I was explaining how the magical numbers in our text were really trigonometry, and I had one student who raised his hand and said "I did not really get a good education, so I don't understand all of this."

I questioned him as to where he went to high school and what year he graduated. I was surprised to learn he attended Grand Junction High and graduated the year before I did.

The conclusion was that I was teaching him things I learned at the same school one year later, and he really did not pay attention.

This situation has been in our society from the beginning of our country, and I am sure it exists in all cultures. I was at the Boys & Girls Club the other day to see the director, Dana Duran. Thanks, Dana, and your staff for what you are doing. I noticed a young man about 12 years old sitting on the bench and not really having much fun, so while I waited, I sat down and talked to him.

We ended up playing air hockey and he beat me, and I had a great time with this young man. By the way, he really liked the computer lab the best, but we cannot let youths be there all day.

Here are some things each of us can do to help. Find a youth you connect with and be that person's friend or mentor. He or she can be athletic, artistic, mechanical or into animals. I know for sure the next generation is as diverse as adults now. If a larger group is your thing, we always can use more volunteers at the club and are happy to have your help.

There are sports teams that need good coaching from individuals who realize that striving for the best we can be in athletics is not just about winning, but about personal success. Maybe help a friend of your child with a subject you are good at and they are not. We can do this without an organization or with one, but the real charge is to "Just Do It."

We cannot afford, as a society, to not educate and socialize our youth, or we will incarcerate our future adults. Now we ask ourselves, will all of this really do any good? I can say that it will make a difference no matter if you get to witness this fruit or not. I would never want to think that the answer to all of our problems is as simple as the above examples as we have many extenuating circumstances, but I do know that without these actions, our problems will deepen and grow greater.

Now, a word to our youth, and I hope they will hear this. I am sitting at my computer and typing this letter into Word, and I realize all of you can operate a computer. One of the lamest classes I ever took was typing in my sophomore year of high school, and I hated it then. It was only one semester, and the teacher thought we would all be future stenographers. I, by the way, was one of the few males to take this course. I encourage you to really pay attention to all of your classes, and dedicate yourselves to getting the most out of them you can. By the way, I was not an A typing student, but the B- I earned has served me very well in my adult life. Typing was not nearly as fun as auto mechanics, but I have used it to my advantage more than any class I ever took. You do not have to be a brain to be successful in life, just dedicated to learn all you can and do your best.

David DeRose

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