Dear Annie: Young people are ready, willing and able to tackle the world's most difficult challenges, and yet are vastly underrepresented as active citizens, decision-makers and problem solvers. From the third-grader in Detroit distributing meals to the homeless, to the high schooler in Jakarta collecting gently used books to develop literacy programs, to the soccer team in Atlanta leading an anti-bullying campaign, all of these remarkable youth have a common goal: to raise awareness and solve the problems facing the world today. Today's social and environmental problems are immense; we need youth around the world to be leaders and problem solvers today, not just the leaders of a distant tomorrow.
Last week, the world witnessed the 28th Global Youth Service Day. During this three-day event, thousands of community partners in the United States and 125 other countries activate millions of young people to strengthen their communities. Global Youth Service Day recognizes the positive impact that young people have on their communities 365 days a year. When given the opportunity, young people are great assets and resources to their communities, providing unique perspectives and skills. Moreover, youth who are engaged as active community members are more likely to grow up to volunteer, vote and donate to charitable causes.
Please inform your readers about the service grants and volunteer opportunities available to young people and the organizations that support them year-round. They can visit YSA.org/grants for available opportunities. You can also find us on social media at @YouthService on Twitter and Youth Service America on Facebook. Sincerely — Steven A. Culbertson, President and CEO, Youth Service America
Dear Steven Culbertson: We hope all of our readers, young and old, teachers and students, will check out your website to see how they can participate in these wonderful opportunities. Thank you for letting us know.
Dear Annie: I'd like to respond to "Not an Exhibitionist," who said that an 8-year-old boy peeked into her shower at the YMCA.
I have a 9-year-son with severe autism who loves to swim. Our local pool does not have a family changing room. We have to go through the men's or women's locker room to reach the pool. I don't enjoy bringing my son into the women's locker room, but I have no other choice. He would not be able to navigate the men's locker room on his own. He might run off or easily be led somewhere by a stranger. He is a beautiful boy, and you wouldn't know he had autism by looking at him.
Please give women who bring their older sons into the locker room the benefit of the doubt. There may be a good reason why they are there. — Mom with No Other Options
Dear Mom: We agree that some children need to tag along with Mom in order to use the pool. But they can be closely supervised and taught to respect a closed curtain. We also think family changing rooms make a great deal of sense these days, and we hope parents (and others) will lobby all such facilities to include them.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.