EDITORIAL: Mentors required

A 21 year-old who grew up in Parksville offers her comments about amenities for youth in the region

We should not be surprised it’s a young person who has come up with a sane explanation and some possible solutions.

Vandalism, school closures and the tragic deaths of young people in recent months in our region has Parksville Qualicum Beach community leaders wringing their hands and making comments about what’s wrong and what may be some solutions.

Thinking we’ve heard enough from those over 40 on this issue, we put out a call to young people for their input. Samantha Weber, now 21, grew up here. She told us she loves her home town and can’t wait to return from Alberta, where she lives now. She went to Ballenas. We offer the rest of this editorial for parts of her comments (see pqbnews.com for her entire comments, along with others):

“As many are aware there are not many great-paying jobs in Parksville, and unfortunately this causes a blind spot in the town, because no one is available to teach youth while parents are at work. The fact is, without higher education in parents, many are doomed to minimum-wage jobs, therefore they have to work more to get by and children go unsupervised.”

“Parksville has reached an impasse. In the past we have tried to have things available, dances, Artspeak, game night, etc., all of which failed because teens used these as an opportunity to commit various crimes. As a wise person once said: It takes a community to raise a child.”

“Everyone needs to take part. If parents are struggling to work to provide, someone needs to step in during the down time.  If a student shows up to school high, don’t send them home, no one is there. Don’t let them sit in the counsellor’s office and nap either. Give them detention. Make them do a sort of community service.”

“We don’t owe the youth entertainment. We don’t owe them things to do. However, we do owe them the skills needed to entertain themselves.”

“Our youth are becoming stagnant and over-priviledged. There needs to be consequences for actions, and there needs to be someone willing to teach the life skills needed to be a loving, independent person. Kids won’t just figure it out. That’s what community is for. We must start teaching the youth of our community.”

— Editorial by John Harding

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