A Publication of WTVP

Communities are constantly looking towards their future-and the key component of that future lies in the potential of our youth. As a community, we play an important role in creating a positive vision for young people. Today, even with several resources in place, there are still families lacking economic security and health care for their children. As community leaders, we must recognize that supporting our children and their families is a necessity.

A community's responsibility for nurturing its youth can take on many roles and can be answered many ways. The opportunities and challenges facing our children as they move from their formative years to adolescence and onto adulthood can be overwhelming, but communities across the country-including the Peoria area-are finding more ways of working together to create a positive future for young people.

Too often the problems facing our youth can lead to negative viewpoints on how to deal with the issues at hand. Programs and services shouldn't be limited to simply preventing youth problems or treating problems as they occur; rather, we should collectively be looking for the means of developing strength and resiliency in our youth.

To become successful adults, youth need a sense of safety, belonging, purpose, and self-worth. They also need to have their basic needs met while they develop healthy social habits, communication, and citizenship skills. To thrive, children must acquire healthy behaviors and attitudes. Youth development programs that focus on building these competencies show that children who're in preschool, after school, and arts programs are more likely to develop a greater sense of purpose and have stronger educational aspirations.

The Peoria area's health and human service industry offers a variety of services focusing on prevention, intervention, and education that nurture and mentor our youth from early childhood onward. With opportunities for learning good social skills, obtaining mentoring, exploring careers, providing community service, and for participating in educational programs, Peoria area youth are well on their way to a successful future-and so is our community. IBI