The Future is Now

By Jason Menard

For all of you out there lamenting the state of today’s youth and worrying about the future of our society, it’s time to put up or shut up. The future can be bright – especially with organizations like Future Possibilities around to help foster and grow our community’s leaders.

Unfortunately, the organization is in dire straits – not for lack of promise by the youth, but by lack of interest and support from the very adults who, in general, condemn today’s youth for the casual attitude towards life and laziness.

Future Possibilities, whose Canadian roots start in Toronto, branched out last year with a satellite operation in London’s Glen Cairn Public School. The program is designed to pair a young child, between the ages of eight and 12, with a Kid Coach – an adult from the community who works weekly with the child to create, develop, and execute a Goal of Contribution to the community. All of this at no cost to the participants.

And, while the participants may be small, the scope of their goals betrays their diminutive stature. Last year, for example, Canadian participants ran fundraisers and drives which resulted in the donation of thousands of items and funds to women’s shelters, food banks, hospitals and humane societies. Students were able to raise money and donations for families in war-torn regions of our world. Students developed programs and supported the learning of the French language in our schools. They created and hosted bike-a-thons, dog-walk-a-thons, you-name-it-a-thons, all in the name of raising money for charities and foundations across this country.

Small dreamers with big dreams – and certainly their actions run counter to the stereotypical view of today’s youth.

And that’s where the stereotype falls down. These kids are all special, but their not unique. They’ve simply been given the opportunity, the support, and the encouragement from both their parents and their kid coaches to make a difference in the world around them. They’ve been shown that, no matter the size or the stature, each and every one of us in this world can make a significant difference for the better – and that’s a lesson that we, as adults, could stand to learn.

The London expansion went so well last year that the organization decided to expand again and allow more children the opportunity to participate in the program. Unfortunately, while the will was there to grow, the support has been lacking so far. But it’s not a lack of interested kids – it’s a lack of interested adults.

As adults in this world, we can’t simply sit back and shake our head at today’s youth. Being supercilious in our condemnation of today’s kids doesn’t help the situation – and, more importantly, it isn’t fair. Most kids today want to make a difference. Given the opportunity, they want to help, to be active, and to make their community a better place to live. But there’s only so much they can do on their own. They need support from adults like us.

We, as parents, community leaders, and concerned citizens, have an obligation to future generations to guide them and show them the right path. When you combine our knowledge with our kids’ enthusiasm, great things can result. And that’s been proven over and over by the goals and actions of Future Possibilities’ kids.

And the best part of this program is that it’s not a one-shot thing. Once these kids have experienced the realization of their potential, and once they get a sense of what they can do on their own, then they’re motivated to continue to make a difference in our community. They’re motivated to be better citizens, be more active, and be better role models for their peers.

There are kids who have the will, but lack the way because we’re too busy looking down at today’s youth instead of getting off our high horses and putting in some real leg work. If programs like Future Possibilities fail through lack of support, then we have only ourselves to blame.

If you’re interested in supporting Future Possibilities, either through contributions of time, resources, or support – or if you’re interested in lending your expertise and guidance as a Kid Coach – please contact Michele Sands, the London Chapter’s director, atmichele@fpcanada.org.

The possibilities for the future can be bright, but our kids need our help to shine a light on their potential.

2005 © Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

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