Saturday, May 10, 2008

Do you know where your children are?

YOW! It's been several weeks since I posted a blog, so let me tell you what I've been up to that's been taking up my time. It's my own community project.

I'm a member of the Parents' Patrol in my town, Hod Hasharon. We walk around the public parks on Friday nights from 11 pm to 3 am, just kind of checking in on the youth, talking to them about what's on their minds, trying to give them some educational info, driving kids home if they are too drunk to stand, etc. We aren't enforcement officers; just caring parents who want to know what's going on.

Most parents have no clue what's going on. Their kids are "good kids" and only try that stuff occassionally, if at all (yeah, right). Unfortunately, in the public parks, your good kids are sitting on a bench across from a group of 15-year-olds smoking a bong, with an "escort" who is in his late 20s. Unfortunately, your teenage girls are hanging out in the same park where men (ages 20-30), from a nearby town are offering them gifts in return for their attention. These are the kind of guys who, if they caught their sisters doing what your daughters are doing, the sisters would be eliminated for staining the family's honor.

I love being on the parent's patrol, because the kids really appreciate us, and it gives us the ability to communicate and help them. It seems like a little nothing, but lots of little nothings together are making a real difference in our town.

With the summer coming up, what struck me is the unbelievable level of boredom. The kids simply have nothing to do with their time. During the summer, they are going to be in those parks every night, bored out of their skulls, with ample alcohol and etc.

What they need is something to work at, something to contribute to, something that shows results, something they enjoy, something that connects them to the community.

I decided to put on a musical, as an extension of what we as the Parents Patrol is offering.

Now, I don't know a lot about doing a musical. I was the assistant director of the musical twice in high school, and what I remember is that it was fun and that it needs a lot of different talents.

So to succeed, we need people who can act, play music, and sing, obviously. We need people to help with logistics, sets, costumes, adverstising and fundraising. Once we are well into rehearsals, we will perform some of the songs in hospitals and senior citizens homes, to promote the show as well as connect to the community, so we need people to organize that.

In short, hey, come join, and get your teens to join! It will be fun. It will make a difference. I'll write about it more in the context of what works and what doesn't work in online and face-to-face encounters. Oh, yeah, if anyone wants to help me set up a home page, in Hebrew, that's more than welcome

To give credit where credit is due, I am putting together this production as part of the Self-Expression and Leadership Course in Landmark Education. There's a Hebrew site too.

I'll also be telling you about some of the other projects in the context of on-line vs. F2F networking. One of the projects is using Facebook and e-mail to get the word out. I'm following that campaign with great interest.

No comments: