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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesA Helping Hand to the Future

A Helping Hand to the Future

Dear Source:
The youth of the Virgin Islands are the life’s blood of our future. We sometimes hear many disheartening stories about youth crime, poor education and a general lack of interest. It is my firm belief that our youth are fine young girls and boys who simply need a chance to grow in a productive and positive environment.
There is no difference between the young of the Virgin Islands and anywhere else in the world. Like all young people, all they need is a chance to show what they can do, and they WILL do it. We see ample proof of the outstanding job children from the Virgin Islands can do. From spelling championships to youth Little League baseball and high academic achievement, we conclude that despite some setbacks due to a lack of governmental initiative, these children have managed to success despite the odds.
On St John, children must endure a poorly located public school, lack of books and after school programs and modern facilities where they would be allowed to thrive. I believe that if given these basic public facilities and programs, we would see even a higher level of achievement. The Department of Housing, Parks and Recreation does a good job with the few facilities they have. Children depend on and utilize the basketball and summer youth programs put on by the Recreation Department but there are only a finite number of slots open to our children and so, not all are able to participate.
Volunteers have stepped in to give many of our children other activities in which they can grow. The KATS program (Kid’s and the Sea) has been active for many years in training children about sailing and respect for the ocean and our environment. All KATS trainers are volunteers. A soccer program fro kids, led by volunteers, is now active on St John. The American Legion has started a youth co-ed flag football program which is open to all children ages 9 through 14. there are several other activities available to children and these programs certainly help in giving our children another possibility in their growth. The programs teach team work and respect for their fellow team members. They allow children who, in some instances, may not have interacted, but now have made new friends and life-long alliances. Parents who participate in youth programs have the same benefits as their children in not only watching their children grow in mind and body but also have the chance to interact with other parents, thus bringing our community even closer together.
As a founder of the flag football program, I can say first hand how much benefit the activity has brought to our community. To keep that program and other programs alive, we depend on volunteers and sponsorship from businesses and grant money. The volunteers who head these activities are dedicated to keeping them going and we always need help in doing so. I would ask parents, business owners and anyone who is interested in youth to become involved. These leagues and programs always need coaching help, referees, instructors and sponsors.
Having more activities in your community is always a plus. Volunteering time at school, offering school-based and after-school programs, spending more time with children and listening to what they have to say will provide a source of satisfaction to the adult and an experience for children that will last a life time. Take the time to find out what activities are in your community and get involved. You will be glad you did.

Paul Devine
St. John

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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Dear Source:
The youth of the Virgin Islands are the life’s blood of our future. We sometimes hear many disheartening stories about youth crime, poor education and a general lack of interest. It is my firm belief that our youth are fine young girls and boys who simply need a chance to grow in a productive and positive environment.
There is no difference between the young of the Virgin Islands and anywhere else in the world. Like all young people, all they need is a chance to show what they can do, and they WILL do it. We see ample proof of the outstanding job children from the Virgin Islands can do. From spelling championships to youth Little League baseball and high academic achievement, we conclude that despite some setbacks due to a lack of governmental initiative, these children have managed to success despite the odds.
On St John, children must endure a poorly located public school, lack of books and after school programs and modern facilities where they would be allowed to thrive. I believe that if given these basic public facilities and programs, we would see even a higher level of achievement. The Department of Housing, Parks and Recreation does a good job with the few facilities they have. Children depend on and utilize the basketball and summer youth programs put on by the Recreation Department but there are only a finite number of slots open to our children and so, not all are able to participate.
Volunteers have stepped in to give many of our children other activities in which they can grow. The KATS program (Kid’s and the Sea) has been active for many years in training children about sailing and respect for the ocean and our environment. All KATS trainers are volunteers. A soccer program fro kids, led by volunteers, is now active on St John. The American Legion has started a youth co-ed flag football program which is open to all children ages 9 through 14. there are several other activities available to children and these programs certainly help in giving our children another possibility in their growth. The programs teach team work and respect for their fellow team members. They allow children who, in some instances, may not have interacted, but now have made new friends and life-long alliances. Parents who participate in youth programs have the same benefits as their children in not only watching their children grow in mind and body but also have the chance to interact with other parents, thus bringing our community even closer together.
As a founder of the flag football program, I can say first hand how much benefit the activity has brought to our community. To keep that program and other programs alive, we depend on volunteers and sponsorship from businesses and grant money. The volunteers who head these activities are dedicated to keeping them going and we always need help in doing so. I would ask parents, business owners and anyone who is interested in youth to become involved. These leagues and programs always need coaching help, referees, instructors and sponsors.
Having more activities in your community is always a plus. Volunteering time at school, offering school-based and after-school programs, spending more time with children and listening to what they have to say will provide a source of satisfaction to the adult and an experience for children that will last a life time. Take the time to find out what activities are in your community and get involved. You will be glad you did.


Paul Devine
St. John

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.