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Sustainability for Our Youth

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“Sustainability for Our Youth”

There are many important definitions for Sustainability. According to (, “Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony that permits fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.” I agree with this definition, but I strongly believe that we should focus our efforts on the well-being of our youth. If we could successfully sustain their future, then they could grow up to accomplish many great things that relate to all aspects of sustainability. Unfortunately, children that come from underprivileged homes continue to grow. A large number of grade school students come from homes filled with violence, drugs/alcohol, single parent, a parent that does not care or parents with mental illness. These types of stressors can often cause tendencies in the child to become violent themselves with many outbursts in class, little social or communication skills, facing hunger and neglect. Due to these circumstances, there is a huge gap between underprivileged students and the rest of the students in the West Frankfort Public Grade School and the same goes for the rest of the United States. This gap continues to grow with each grade level completed by the child. The gap is caused by economic, social and educational disadvantages for the underprivileged children.

There is a quote from Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and I believe his statement says it best. Nelson Mandela said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” I am not trying to attack our West Frankfort Public School System, but I am trying to find many solutions to helping our underprivileged children, for they are the future. One of the primary and most important solutions is to start a mentorship program, which is very cost effective.

One reason we should offer a mentorship program is to help our underprivileged students economically. We must first understand that many of the parents that send their children to school for the first time do not themselves have a primary education. If this is the case, they may not positively reinforce the learning of the child and may not support the continuity of the studies because they themselves have not achieved a certain level of education. Therefore, they may lack the understanding of the importance of education and the possibilities that an education can bring. In order to provide a mentorship to underprivileged children, the West Frankfort Public Grade School must first locate and then evaluate the parents of underprivileged children. This seems to be a little invasive, but I believe this could be a blessing because we are lacking the communication necessary between educators and families. Other than providing the correct mentor for the child and their family, we may also provide resources for food, utility bill help, daycare coverage, gas money assistance and much more. Providing these resources to the child and their family could make a difference in their lives and could possibly be the turning point of events in their home life.

Not only is there economical disadvantages, but there are also social disadvantages. A social disadvantage is due to a lack of the parent’s involvement or a parent’s drug/alcohol addiction. I believe there are many effective ways to help our children socially. Before providing a mentor to the child, the school must first check and see if the child needs any type of therapy. Such as speech, developmental or psychological and once they take care of the child’s mental needs, then they could offer guidance. The guidance can come from the mentor established for the child. The mentor would also provide the child with better self-esteem. According to (, “On the social and emotional development front, taking part in mentoring promotes positive social attitudes and relationships. Mentored youth tend to trust their parents more and communicate better with them.” They could also teach the student how to relate well to all kinds of people and help them strengthen communication skills. I believe that the social disadvantage is primarily the most important aspect of resolving underprivileged children. Doc Childre, founder of the nonprofit institute HeartMath, says it best with, “An aware parent loves all children he or she interacts with - for you are a caretaker for those moments in time.” With that said, a mentor would benefit the child greatly within social sustainability.

The last reason that we need to establish



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