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The Insiders

Posted: August 3, 2017 4:12 p.m.
Updated: August 4, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Readers will notice a story on today’s front page by Senior Writer Martin L. Cahn about a remarkable pair of teens who recently spoke at the Jackson Teen Center. We urge everyone to read this and to have your children read it.

These two individuals were there to tell their stories -- and both stories are pretty harsh. Both teens have come from hard backgrounds and have made terrible decisions in their young lives, resulting in their being incarcerated in a Department of Juvenile Justice facility -- prison sentences for youth -- and both of them are still inside. However, they have progressed to a point where they have earned the privilege of leaving the DJJ facility -- obviously, in the custody and under the supervision of DJJ officials -- so they can go out into the community, tell their stories and urge youth not to make the same bad decisions.

One would think the stark, simple illustration of their example -- two otherwise normal-looking teens essentially serving prison sentences for the entirety of their high school years -- would be enough to convince anyone to stay on the straight and narrow. And yet, no one knows better than these two how easy it is to take a wrong turn and wind up dealing with some pretty harsh consequences.

To their credit, these two have made decisions and put forth the effort to turn their lives around; in fact, at least one of them will be attending college when they are released. They make it a central, salient point to emphasize that each one of us, no matter what our circumstances, are responsible for our actions and our lives and that with hard work, discipline and support, redemption and success is achievable.

We applaud these two extraordinary young people for having the courage and wherewithal to turn their lives around and caution all young people to heed their advice and learn by their example. 

Just as, if not more, important, we urge the adults of the community to do their part. Mentor. Be vigilant. Be nurturing. Set a good example.

It all hearkens back to the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child.” 

Let’s try to be that village.

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