Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Engaging Youth in NEO
Submitted by MShafarenko on Thu, 12/15/2005 - 14:05.
This is by no means a new topic, but one that I feel needs some REAL attention. If NEO wants to spur economic development and sustainability, it really needs to engage the students within the higher education institutions in the area. In my opinion, the message sent by society to most students is that they need to follow the routine paths in life to become successful members of society. They will read about economic sustainability in their textbooks, write lengthy essays and leave it at that - their focus is NOT on real economic sustainability as it is on passing that test, getting that grade and landing that job/graduate school program. And my question is: Why?
Why were the students of the 60s, for example, more consolidated in their efforts to make impacts on society? My guess is that they figured out the premise of power in numbers versus the efforts of one. The times were different, the culture was different - so many reasons could be brought forth. But I think it takes an organization like REALNEO to spur that cultural shift and create opportunities for students to be engaged in the community that teaches them. And, idealistically, that will create a vested interest in their minds to stay - instead of seeking Teaching for America opportunities in underprivileged communities in Miami or going on a mission to Uganda with the Peace Corps, they will want to stay right here in Cleveland and make a difference.