Teen-agers get a bad rap. The evening news or the front pages of daily newspapers often depict the latest crime committed by the younger generation — such as the high-schooler who allegedly killed a Flagstaff police officer.
Although I’m not questioning the news value of those stories, I do believe there are just as many and probably more teen-agers out there who do good deeds. They just don’t get the air time and ink the bad teens do.
Take a couple of local youngsters featured on last week’s front page. Matt Hender and John Gabaldon were two very impressive young men to interview about their mission to Tijuana, Mexico.
While there, they built a house for a poor Mexican family which had four kids and another on the way. The house was small but it was a lot better than the tarp the family had been living under before.
The kids told me about how they purchased food and cleaning supplies for the house, along with pieces of furniture. It was all part of a surprise and there were many tears when the family was shown the way into their new abode.
The young adults who are part of the summer programs at the Grand Canyon Baptist Church and Grand Canyon Community Church are another example of good, young people.
They work at full-time jobs, stay involved with church-related activities just about every day of the week and are here at their own expense. That’s impressive.
Then there are the little things in life that make a difference. A few members of Grand Canyon High School’s graduating class struck me as exceptional human beings.
Sometimes, it would just be a simple hello while passing them in the hallway or on the sidewalk. A few of them tried to pronounce my last name by addressing me as Mr. Fuqua, but I would quickly tell them to just call me Brad.
That may not mean a lot to some people. But the respect some of our youngsters around Grand Canyon show for their elders is neat to see. There are the bad eggs in the bunch as well. But think about it, what age group doesn’t have its bad eggs (infants, maybe).
Stop by and have a chat with Joe Surin or Paul Kinnison or John Gabaldon about all of the incredible youth experiences they’ve had around the Grand Canyon.
Gabaldon’s Bridging the Gap activities will be enough to make you realize that young people make a big difference in our society.
(Brad Fuqua is editor of the Grand Canyon News).