Inspiring Community Engagement – Boys and Girls Clubs of America
Last weekend we attended a trivia night to benefit the St. Charles Boys & Girls Clubs of America. When Mary’s sister offered the invitation I thought about how long it had been since I had heard the BGC mentioned. The trivia night was fun and it put some needed cash in the coffers of BGC, and it made me realize something about community engagement.
We write and talk a lot about being an example to others through our thoughts and actions. What doesn’t get mentioned much is just who are we being examples to. Sure we want to be examples to other adults, our friends, co-workers and such, but we should also be aware of how we are appearing to the young people all around us.
While at the BGC in St. Charles, Missouri I happened upon a rack of magazines and saw Connections Magazine and the bold title, Be Engaged. The article written by Romero Brown is subtitled, Inspiring a Generation of Civically Engaged Youth and speaks directly to that ideal.
“In addition to improving communities, civic engagement has many benefits, especially for young people. Studies show that youth who participate in service activities do better in school, maintain positive relationships with adults and peers, and avoid risky behaviors.”
For adults, community engagement has many similar benefits: do better at work, maintain more positive relationships and avoid risky behaviors . . . with an added benefit that they present themselves as better role models to their children and other kids.
“A study by Child Trends indicates that young people who participate in service activities are more likely to vote, have a positive work ethic and be socially responsible as adults. Community service also fosters a sense of diversity, a connection to cultural heritage and development of ethics, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service.”
Again adults gain these same benefits and are better role models and examples.
“For Boys & Girls Clubs, civic engagement is an essential element to helping youth become responsible, caring and productive citizens. Giving back to the community has always been a cornerstone . . .”
Thank you Romero Brown for this important reminder from the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of Connections.
As Buddhists we engage in community organizations as a part of our practice of compassion, of selflessness, and of developing our personal character. We need to take that further and remember that we also do it to be examples of positive change and being examples to children has great importance. They, the kids, the teens, the young people that watch closely what we do and pattern much of their connection with the world around our example.
I bow with respect,