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Supporting our youth to strengthen the future.

My son Ben playing basketball for the Vikings.

I am a wife and mother first above all things and I have some real concerns. Although our school system in Idaho is pretty far down the list academically, we are lucky here in Valley County to have some dedicated, above and beyond superstar teachers!!! They need our help to deliver healthy, happy kids to school so they can do their important work but we parents sure do have a ton to worry about to make that happen.

Youth across the country are seeing major spikes in depression and suicide. There are more opportunities for kids to connect with the wrong crowd as the use of cell phones and social media continue to rise. Today's kids are dealing with self image issues, constant comparison to others beyond their hometown and cyber bullying. They have been introduced to drugs that weren't even around when we were kids and with the rise of adult opioid prescriptions, some are finding access too easily.

There are a ton of programs that could use our funding and support in Valley County through grants, partnerships and volunteerism. There is good work being done to help families stay educated and keeping kids healthy. Even in our small community, we've been hit too hard by unspeakable tragedy and working together in service is a way we can really make a difference. Expecting more from our leaders is ok and asking for funding is also ok.

Keeping kids in sports like Mountain Biking, Soccer, Football and the arts like McCall Arts and Humanities, theatre and art takes parent coaches, teachers and volunteers. Being a board member on YAC, The Shepherd's Home, or PLCA takes major commitment to deliver quality programming. We even have amazing volunteers going into neighborhoods now on the Tutormobile to reach kids where they are. These programs, these neighbors we have are our lifeblood, our children's security and a parent's peace of mind. These programs and our talented teachers make our future possible and connect our families and youth together and I am grateful. We should expect our government to see these programs as a valuable part of our growth aimed to strengthen the mind, body and souls of the next generation of leaders.

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