The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 15, 2013

Teenagers did great work


Commercial-News

DANVILLE — In this day and age when all we hear on the news about teenagers is how much trouble they are, and that they don’t care, etc., I have to say that’s just not true.

Recently, I’ve had two separate occasions to witness the caring and goodness and, well, honor of a few area teenagers.

On Dec 12, Catlin High School sent a few teenagers from their Community Service class to help distribute toys for Toys for Tots at St. James United Methodist Church.

My first reaction when I heard they were coming to help was, “Oh yeah ... I’m sure they’ll be a big help. They’ll probably just stand around and giggle the whole time they’re here.”

Boy, oh boy, was I ever wrong. Those kids worked themselves silly.

They were polite. They were kind to the folks who needed toys.

They were extremely helpful and we really would’ve have a very tough day without them.

After they left, Oakwood High School sent some kids to finish the day and help clean up.

Once again, I was impressed with their hard work and willingness to just get to it and do what was necessary to get the job done.

Then on Dec. 17, I went to the VA Illiana Health Care System to help with a meal donated by the Midwest Veterans’ Group and Thunder Ride for the homeless Veterans — which is truly sad and disgusting that we have so many homeless vets, but that’s for another letter.

This time it was Oakwood Junior High Schools kids who came out to help.

They couldn’t wait to get to work to serve the men and women who were willing to die for them. I think some of the kids realized they were in the presence of true heroes and celebrities, especially one young man.

I remember watching him interact with an older gentleman veteran. I hope this boy will read this because he needs to know what a beautiful thing he did.

He was sitting near the trash can and when I would go over to throw something away, I could overhear bits and pieces of their conversation.

The veteran was telling him stories of his life and the student sat there and listened. He even commented back and laughed with the veteran. The student might have been bored to tears. He might have been genuinely interested in his stories. I don’t know. The point is, he sat and listened and talked with the elderly veteran.

I’m willing to bet this old veteran will never forget the young boy who sat with him that day and gave him 15 minutes of his time.

I can only hope that when I’m old and wanting to tell my boring stories to someone, that there will be a teenager like this Oakwood student willing to sit and listen to me.

Thank you to all of you of the kids who participated and worked those two events.

You are our future, and I think the future’s looking pretty darn good!

Pam Johnson resides Danville.