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Our first meeting inspired by the loss of Shama, happened tonite at oriole 9. It was intense, frightening and also inspiring. It was encouraging to sit with close to twenty five people commited to honoring the young people in our community and working toward supporting their passion for life.

We accomplished a lot, identified community members who have incredible gifts and ideas and support to offer. We began a dailog about solutions and we made a commitment to keep the conversation going.

But most important was the ability to hear from the six young people who attended. They found a safe enough container to share some of their hopes, fears, truths and wisdom,–and it was tremendous wisdom indeed. I am in awe of the love, and caring and supportive heart that came from each of them, each with something different and valuable to offer.

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This was a small meeting that was shared on a few facebook walls. I heard from an attendee that some young people felt left out and it wasnt intentional. As a matter of fact, their voices were needed. And they will have plenty of opportunity to be heard. More containers like this will be made, and each time together will be different as the conversations Continue.

A few things stood out for me at this meeting:

Young people want the support of their elders, parents, school admin and yet, they want a stronger voice in the conversation.

They know many of our concerns and even share some of them, and they want us to know that; even more than our concerns, they want to hear how we are going to support them in finding their purpose. We can talk at them and to them about the problems we see, but what they want more is to be heard and be offered opportunities to shine.

We think we know the solutions they need, and yet if we dont listen to what they say need, we really can’t fulfil them.

It is going to take a lot of listening to change the situations that our community is in, because there are many layers and dynamics that comprise the state of our community.

I will be taking the notes from this evening and putting them together in the next couple of days and sharing. Two lists were made, the first is of concerns and suggestions from the young attendees, and the other, the things that are happening and being offered that are available for young people to engage in.

Because this was the first meeting of this kind, a lot did not get covered, but the lists will be posted and remain alive for expansion and more will be made as we keep talking.

Hopefully people will be stepping up and taking leadership on our findings, and we will continue this conversation and take action.

From this meeting alone, we may be seeing a youth led spoken word open mic happen in the center of town starting imminently.

We became aware of an youth NA sponsor who also took the Narcan training and has a kit to show up in first response she could be closer than the paramedics when the calls go out. And the calls must begin to go out in situations like Shama’s and others.

If we have enough real intergenerational trust being nurtured, they will begin to make calls like the ones they aren’t making now, when they or their friend is in trouble.

There is another meeting on this same subject next week

MONDAY NOVEMBER 16 THE WOODSTOCK COMMUNITY CENTER 6­-9 PM

this is open to all and it is my hope that the organizers are, amongst the speakers scheduled, planning for dedicated time to hear our kids

i will be presenting some of the key notes from tonite and looking to expand on them at the community center.

I will be one of those speakers, and my aim is not to become the next anit-drug advocate but to continue honoring my passion to create more opportunity to magnify the voices of our young community members and expand their opportunities to find their purpose. We have incredible potential here in these hills, and as someone who grew up in them, i know how it feels to see much of it squandered.

i asked one of my earth guardian friends tonite if he felt that the young people today feel hopeless about their future, and this incredible 14 year old boy said to me (my best attemt to quote him)

‘There is a name for that (*remember to ask him what that name was) every generation comes in believing that they know more than the generations before them and the one to come, so they have a bit less trust in what the previous gen has to offer them. So i guess every generation has a bit of hopelessness that they carry along with a bit of resentment for the mess we are in.’

this is very telling to me, And they have every reason to feel that way.

We can change our course, but we must allow this to be a youth led movement.

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3 thoughts on “Hearing from our Youth

  1. I would love to come monday It was so important for you to bring this together so soon. Everyone must be so raw and in pain. This village must be so grateful for you Rachel

  2. OOOHHH THIS IS SUCH A WONDERFUL INITIATIVE! So good you started this Rachel! I was just having a conversation with Susan Goldman from Family of Woodstock, addressing similar concerns, especially about the teen hotline. Family has been working to implement a text hotline specifically for teens.It will be ready very soon and teens can be trained at Family (perfect for SCHOOL SERVICE REQUIREMENT) to use it and help other teens!!!! Please talk to her, she should be at the next meeting. I will also revive ONE VOICE GLOBAL soon and bring groups of students to do service in Mexico to add life changing opportunities to the local youth. Lets talk, I want to help somehow. Beautiful work Rachel!!!!

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