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home : opinion : opinion May 26, 2016

11/1/2012 9:47:00 AM

Dear Editor,
We are blessed to live in a small and very beautiful community. Life here is much different than the "big cities" and for most of us transplants that is why we moved here.

We enjoy it here because people are friendly and helpful. I'm always proud when I watch how our community rallies around a cause. For me there is nothing more important than helping our young boys and girls turn into productive men and women.

And I'm here to tell you we can make a tremendous difference in a child's life and it's such a small investment on our part.

I recently learned about a group of individuals who have come together under the name of "Refuge" to assist our local youth.

They meet the second Thursday of each month at the Chelan Fire Station.

At their Oct. 11 meeting Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett along with Officers Rob Huddleston, Bob Francis, School Resource Officer, and Darren Crutchfield, Sheriff Chaplain were guest speakers. It was obvious these guys care about our community our youth and the people they serve.

The follow are a few highlights from the meeting.
Sarah Barnes, asked them, "what is the best thing our community could do to help kids in Chelan and Manson?

Did they wish that more people would get their counseling credentials or donate to the food bank?

Don't get me wrong-those are all really good things.
But that is not what they said."

According to Brian Burnett, the best thing our community can do is, "Don't underestimate yourselves.
Life is about relationships. The Sheriff and CPS is not the solution. We have a unique community here. Many of these kids need somebody in their life that is different and can believe in them and their ability to rise above their circumstances."

So, if you are reading this, this is you.

You have the power to help kids in our community right in your own backyard. Get involved in the lives of the kids you know.

Listen and ask questions. Build a relationship and help them navigate this crazy world we live in.

Take them out for a meal or offer to help them do homework.

Tell them about your job or where you went to college. Speak up for them. Challenge them. Invite them to church or to shoot hoops.

Think about what you're good at, and then share it with them.
Teach them right from wrong. Point out the good in them or things you notice they do well.

Kari Petersen, member of Refuge leadership suggested, "How great would it be to pair every student in Chelan and Manson with a community mentor?"

At the end of the day, don't underestimate your own ability to make a difference just by caring about a child you know or don't know.

At Manson High School you have an opportunity to make a difference in a child's life. Seniors, through their Career Choices class, are required to complete at least one job shadow and participate in a mock interview.

Providing a job shadow to a student can change their life as it may just open a door unavailable in the past.
Helping students learn to interview will for sure change their life, as they will gain the tools to secure a better start in life and become productive members of our community and the world.

For more information regarding job shadows and mock interviews contact me at 509-293-0225 or

To learn more about Refuge contact Sarah Barnes at

Norm Manly

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