Discover the Treasure Buried in Your Back Yard
An editorial by Cynthia Tschampl
Somerville could become one of the richest cities in the region if we only took the time to dig up the treasure hiding right in front of our noses. I am, of course, referring to our youth. Doubtless you have heard the statistics about suicide rates, drop out rates and alcohol abuse rates going up. Poverty is on the rise, the minimum wage has been frozen for nearly a decade and drug use among young people is increasing. I bring these facts up not to depress you but rather to explain why I call our youth “buried” treasures. With all the negative stereotypes heaped on top of risk factors heaped on top of under investment in youth—our valuables are generally kept out of sight.
As Program Director for Centro Presente’s Somerville-based, after-school arts and leadership program, Pintamos Nuestro Mundo (“We Paint Our World”), I work with Latino immigrant youth ages 11 to 18. They have awed me time and again with their accomplishments. Here are just a few examples: