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Northfield Healthy Community Initiative
Updated: 2 min 11 sec ago
Three adult advisers to the Northfield Skateboard Coalition received the Healthy Community Initiative “Making a Difference” Award for January/February. The award celebrates groups and individuals in the community who have a positive influence on Northfield youth.
Cecilia Cornejo, Rob Hardy and Jane McWilliams have regularly volunteered their time during the past two years helping youth from the Skateboard Coalition work toward the goal of building a permanent skate park in Northfield. The Parks and Recreation Board has selected Old Memorial Park as the location, and the project is in the design phase.
McWilliams said even though her children are grown, and she had no personal interest in the skate park, she felt an obligation as a citizen to help bring closure to a project that’s been discussed and debated since 2005.
“It helps to have people in the community recognize the importance of this activity for a significant number of youth,” she said. “It’s a combination art form and athletic challenge. It requires discipline, persistence, and lot of hard work, and I’ve appreciated learning more about it.”
Cornejo is a filmmaker, and she worked with the youth to record all the meetings leading up to the time the permanent location was selected. They have begun editing the footage, and she hopes to have the documentary completed by May of 2015. They are also working on a fundraising video, which should be completed by the end of this month.
She said the best part of the project, for her, has been watching the youth in action. “When we had the temporary park, I’d be there every afternoon. It was so inspirational to see them skating – they have so much perseverance. They are devoted to what they do.”
–written by Joy Riggs, freelance journalist
The Healthy Community Initiative and the Northfield News present the Making a Difference Award cooperatively. If you know an individual or group that you would like to nominate for this award, CLICK HERE for nomination guidelines and the easy-to-complete application or find HCI on Facebook. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and are selected by a review team of HCI board members and local youth.
“Be Someone Who Matters to Someone Who Matters” was the theme of National Mentoring Month in January.
A recent national survey of young people commissioned by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, showed that 4.5 million of at-risk youth will be matched in mentoring relationships through mentoring programs while they are growing up.
Another 10.5 million at-risk young people have informal mentoring relationships with neighbors, teachers, coaches or extended family members.
The survey also showed how one in three at-risk youth will reach adulthood without connecting with a mentor of any kind, and that with each additional risk factor a young adult experiences, the less likely he or she is to connect with an informal mentor.
Youth who have a mentor are more likely to enroll and graduate from college; more likely to participate in sports, clubs or other extracurricular activities; more likely to assume a leadership position in clubs, teams, school or other groups; and are more likely to volunteer than those youth who have no mentoring relationship.
Be Someone Who Matters – A positive relationship with a caring adult helps kids stay in school, improves a young person’s self-esteem, decreases the likelihood of becoming involved in risky behaviors, engages youth in safe activities during free time and, moreover, lets a young person know they are Someone Who Matters.
Be Someone Who Matters – It is fun; it can change your life and bridge the generation gap. Time spent with a young person is an investment in the future; you will be surprised at what you can learn, and most importantly, millions of kids need a mentor and every child is Someone Who Matters.
Be Someone Who Matters to Someone Who Matters. Become a mentor through one of Northfield’s mentoring programs or develop a friendship with a child in your neighborhood. Every young person matters.
For more information on becoming a mentor, contact the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative at 507.664.3524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linda Oto is Youth Development coordinator for Northfield Public Schools Community Services division and coordinates the Connected Kids mentoring program. This column originally appeared in the Northfield News, as part of a quarterly feature supported by the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative.