Good teens do exist

    Last night I attended the Southside High School PTA meeting where detective Fran Hall gave a very good talk concerning our teens and the violence in their lives. In my position as a concerned parent, Fort Smith Council of PTAs president, and a member of the Mayor's Task Force on Youth, I quite often attend similar meetings. They can become quite depressing. Shortly after leaving I always think, "Hey, what about our good teens?"
    Here in Fort Smith and the surrounding areas are many good teenagers, most of whom are already contributing positively to our community. It is a pleasure to go into our schools, both during and after hours, and see the students working individually and cooperatively on academic and social projects. Our churches are full of good, young citizens. In many ways the good teens are the victims of the few, rougher and unsupervised teens that get so much attention in our media and color our society's view of all teens. I applaud the Times Record Teen Talk page. That is a step in the right direction.
    Our schools have service clubs that serve our community in various ways. There are CORE teams that mentor to the younger children. The student councils and honor societies are also productive contributors. Let's not forget the 4-H, Scouts, and church youth groups. Did you know that 10 Fort Smith teenagers went to Guyana, South America, last summer as part of a medical mission team? Our future leaders are out there and they are going to be good ones.
    We do need to continue to work with the at-risk teens and do what we can to improve their lives and our community. Can we as a community also come up with more ways to highlight what our youth are doing positively?

Jeannie Cole
1 December 1995
Southwest Times Record