Less talk, more action

Published 9:43 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2010

For all the worrying and wringing of hands that is done around Suffolk regarding the decline of the local youth culture and the rise of gang violence, thuggery and other anti-social behavior, precious little true action has been taken to intervene and help give kids alternatives to the negative influences.

The City Council established the Suffolk Youth Advisory Council a few years back, and members have been visible handing out literature at various city events since that time, but little has been accomplished to stem the tide of violence and destruction.

Nearly everyone agrees there’s a problem plaguing the youth of Suffolk, and nearly everyone is willing to spend some time talking about what should be done to solve the problem. But when it comes to actually doing something beyond talking about the problem, it’s hard to find volunteers. And even those who are out getting their hands dirty doing the intervention often find themselves working at cross purposes — or ineffectively attacking the problem from separate perspectives.

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Suffolk Tomorrow is working to change the way the city’s interested groups and individuals pitch in to help. A recent training and organizational meeting set up by PREVENT Ministries gave the community-improvement group the chance to get Suffolk’s religious and secular communities, its private and government entities a chance to sit down together and begin learning to work toward the same, worthwhile goal — saving Suffolk’s youth.

The series of meetings is set to include church groups, the SYAC, the NAACP, private ministries and others with a vested interest in the future of the city in an effort to develop solutions and then — most important of all — to get out and take action. There’s been enough talk in Suffolk about what’s wrong, organizers say. Now, it’s time to get out in the streets and make the desired change happen.

As more and more interested parties choose to join the effort, roll up their sleeves and get to work, there will be an increasing reason for hope within the community — not because people have heard inspiring and uplifting words, but because they’ve seen that someone cares enough to labor beside them.