This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, September 22, 1999

September 22, 1999 - Building Communities That Care

Sometimes, though, such paths are not only the quickest way through town, they are also the most illuminating. Often, the distance between the facade of a town and its reality is a matter of a couple of blocks.

Adults see the facade -- because that's the way main roads are designed. (See how prosperous we are!) Kids -- at least kids that don't drive -- get to see the reality, or at least a different reality.

The way a community feels to members of different generations is one of the key points of the upcoming "Douglas County: Building Communities that Care" program on October 15, 1999.

As reported by Rich Bangs last week, the morning event (8 a.m. to noon, in the County's Philip S. Miller Building in Castle Rock) features a keynote address by Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar. This will also involve area high school students. Then program attendees will hear a presentation about how to go about analyzing Douglas County communities.

When Rich first approached me about the need to "do something," the context was the tragedy at Columbine High School. We envisioned something like a public awareness campaign. We were going to explore the many dimensions of Douglas County communities, and focus on how they affect our young people.

What are some of these dimensions? We talked about the role of the media, and access to disturbing content whether through TV, radio, or library Internet terminals. We talked about the availability of drugs -- and of guns. We talked about the important roles of family, of faith, of the culture of the public schools.

Rich brought more people into the planning process. Then Beryl Jacobson let us know about the "Communities that Care" program -- a research-based approach that has been proven to make communities safer, less risky, more nurturing for young people.

The program begins much the way Rich and I first talked about this: by assessing the many factors, both positive and negative, that exist locally. And if that's all it accomplished, that would be a good start.

But there have been plenty of reports written up already. The strength of this particular program is that community members then have a process to take that assessment, and begin to make a real difference in how the local community operates.

The event will have two kinds of attendees: an invited list of community leaders that we EXPECT to work to implement positive change. But of that 150 people we're aiming for, some 50 are members of the community, regular people whose time, and whose conscience, is absolutely necessary. If you would like to attend, please call 303-660-7337.

Sometimes it takes a walk in your children's shoes to see the truth about your community.

No comments:

Post a Comment