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Growing A Generation With Heart



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We are amazed by the youth in our town and the adult mentors who help them achieve their dreams.

A young man, unaffiliated with any organized religion in town, joins ecumenical work campers to help the less fortunate in West Virginia, organizes a shoe drive, travels with that group to the community in need, and distributes the shoes. He did it because he likes helping others — and 2019 was his third trip to impoverished communities.

Another youngster channels his love for pollinators through the POP contest, studying the environment on his own, and encouraging others to learn about these important creatures.

Eagle Scouts and Gold Award Scouts make trailways passable, build information kiosks, create and tend to gardens, contribute to global needs, and take on useful projects that better our town.

Youthful volunteers pitch in to the backbreaking work of setting up the annual Friends of the C.H. Booth Library book sale because they simply want to be a part of this event.

We have young people who channel creativity into art, social, and science projects, then continue on with those ideas when the halls of Newtown schools are far behind them. They travel worldwide to implement plans and learn about other cultures. They act as unofficial diplomats, worldwide.

How does Newtown nurture this kind of empathetic character that seems to permeate our youth?

The adults of the community have a lot to do with it. When young people come up with ideas, it seems there is always an adult willing to be the mentor. Encouragement and practical knowledge go a long way in giving young people faith in their ability to succeed — or to fail and try again.

As a new school year begins, we know we will see continued growth. Our school system and educators instill a sense of community in children from preschool on. Seeing their connection to the greater whole builds on children’s naturally empathetic natures and grows that characteristic into something that benefits the individual and so many in his/her circle.

When humanitarianism is modeled at home, in schools, and in clubs and is rewarded by the support of adults in the community, we contribute to a generation of people who are not only generous in attitude, but proactive and productive as well.

We are, fortunately, not the only community with amazing young people and amazing mentors. Statewide and nationwide, we hear of the philanthropy and charitable contributions of young people unafraid to tackle problems and stand up for those who are marginalized. In a world where gloom and disasters bully their ways to the front page, it is good to realize that beneath that bluster is a new, strong coalition of smart youth and adults working to promote goodness.

Goodness: what a characteristic to have embraced in our community. We have traveled a long way in attitudes, and the road we are on is one that welcomes diverse travelers. It is a journey of enlightenment and open arms. Thank you, to all who pave the way.

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