Leadership Los Alamos participants Nathan Romero and Beverly Purtymun during the youth session Nov. 15 at the Los Alamos Teen Center. Courtesy/LLA
LLA Youth Session facilitators from left, LAPS Healthy Schools Program Director Kristine Coblentz, Los Alamos Teen Center Director George Marsden and Los Alamos Family CouncilExecutive Director Jordan Redmond. Courtesy/LLA
The Leadership Los Alamos Class of 2020 gathered Nov. 15 at the Los Alamos Teen Center to discuss youth.
The class was challenged before the session to think back to their youth and the caring adults who made a difference in their lives. What was special about that relationship? What was different about their relationship with that person versus the other adults in their lives?
The youth of today aren’t much different. Beneath their busy lifestyles and the pressure to succeed, the youth of today want to be heard. They want someone to take the time to really notice them, someone to give them a kind smile, someone to gently encourage them to grow.
The class was challenged to think about what role they envisioned taking in nurturing, supporting and advocating for the youth today. They were challenged to come up with the shared values they would like to hold as a community and learned about the resources needed to establish those common values. Identifying gaps in resources also was part of the conversation.
The day was facilitated by LAPS Healthy Schools Program Director Kristine Coblentz, Los Alamos Teen Center Director George Marsden and Los Alamos Family CouncilExecutive Director Jordan Redmond. During the day the class had an opportunity to hear the voices of youth from recent graduates talking about their personal experiences as well as Los Alamos High School students talking about their analysis of the Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey data.
The class toured both the Los Alamos Teen Center and the Youth Activity Center to get a hands-on view of how local youth are served.
During lunch, the class participated in a “speed dating” format to engage with community guests. A world café style small group discussion with providers of services for youth allowed the class to begin developing a list of gaps in services in the community. The day ended with a small group project applying the knowledge from the day to address these gaps.
Throughout the day the class was able to see how the community has made progress over the last decade toward addressing the challenges faced by youth in the community in meaningful ways. The silence has been broken on social and mental health issues that have been undercurrents in the community for decades and people are starting to come out of their silos – moving away from focusing on specific problems or behaviors – and taking a holistic, prevention-based approach toward supporting youth.
Organizations and community initiatives are coming together to form task forces, gather information and raise or apply for funding to address these issues in order to better support youth through creative and innovative programs.
The class learned the problems aren’t all solved by any means, but were hopeful for the future based on progress that has been and is continuing to be made.
Group discussion during the LLA session Nov. 15 at the Los Alamos Teen Center. Courtesy/LLA
Scene from LLA class visit to the Los Alamos Teen Center. Courtesy/LLA