For close to 15 years, the parish sponsored a local Youth Council who met monthly to sponsor activities open to all youth of the community. As “evaluation” is essential to any successful program, it was clear as the years went on that the need for such a Council had diminished while the continuing goal of Leadership Development could be taken up within each of the Activities sets of the Youth Program.
Every youth activity promotes leadership development in its own way. Within each activity, be it a group at Casa Romero, a mentoring group, or the marimba ensemble, youth who are committed take on increasingly significant responsibilities. In recent years, the promotion of positive leadership development of the older teens has become a priority for us. Younger teens and children naturally look up to older teens as role models. All too often in our neighborhood, this means being guided by youth on the streets, involved in gang life. We know there are many more youth who work hard to get an education, and respect others. Unfortunately, they are often “hidden” from the view of younger teens and children. Our growing effort is to have these positive youth role models become more visible in healthy community activities.