Remember back in the day when we could play outside as kids without having to worry about crime? The streets were safer and our parents didn’t have to worry about weather or not we would be in the midst of a gunfire or drive by shooting, all they would tell us is to look both ways before we crossed the streets and not to talk to strangers.

However, times have changed dramatically. Our youth cannot walk to the store that is right across the street because they might end up getting shot during a drive by shooting, or they risk being mugged and robbed for their belongings, and the sad truth is that these are other youth who are attacking out youth. Youth are killing each other over petty things such as a pair of tennis shoes or a cell phone. This senseless violence among our youth needs to stop, we cannot keep losing our babies. People talk about passing things down for the next generation and leaving a legacy, but what happens when we don’t have a next generation because they were out in the streets? Day after day there is a news report about a teenager being murdered; we as an older generation have to teach and enrich the lives of our youth in positive ways.

This starts by bringing and creating more youth programs for our youth to participate in. After school, our teenagers need something to do, something to look froward to, but instead they are hanging out at the mall, waiting, waiting to get into something devious. We need more performing arts centers for our youth, more sports centers for our youth and more career building workshops for out youth that last all year long. not for a season.

See the thing with these seasonal, summer type of programs is that it is NOT enough. It keeps youth entertained for the summer, but what once school starts back up and the clock hits 3 p.m. they have to figure what to do with their free time, especially when their parents are at work, that is when they really gt into trouble.

So let’s start taking a stand to mentor, educate and prepare our youth for the future. It starts with US as an older generation ( those of us in our 20’s and early 30s) to ensure that we have a healthy, professional and creative NEXT generation so that they can continue to ensure that the next generation after them will also be successful.

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Naomi K. Bonman is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University where she holds her Bachelors of Arts in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Journalism. She also holds her Masters of Public Administration. She is the Founder and CEO of Awakened Media Enterprises, Inc. which owns Purposely Awakened. She has been in the media field since 2006 covering beats that range from social justice, community, entertainment, sports, fashion/beauty, and culture news.

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