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What are you willing to do?

Youth zone
Evan Zislis
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

What are you doing to make the world a better place?

That is a question I had to ask myself after watching Robert Redford’s recent feature film, “Lions for Lambs.” The film is a contemporary statement about engagement versus apathy. What are you willing to do in the face of choice and sacrifice to help improve the human experience for yourself, your family, your community, your country, and your planet?



The film speaks to the fundamental themes of integrity. Given the current human condition in the United States and abroad, will you “change the channel” for your next piece of entertainment, or will you be moved to action? What will that action look like? Will you do your share of the work which needs to be done, or will you stand by and watch those around you carry the load on your behalf? If integrity is about doing what you say you will do, what are you prepared to do?

Will you complete high school and become the first member of your family to attend a college or university? Will you seek help for yourself or a loved one with a substance-abuse problem? Will you intervene for a friend who thinks violence is the answer? Will you teach a child to understand personal accountability, responsibility and the importance of service to others? Will you do your best to feed your family a healthy, organic diet? Will you conserve energy in your home and take the bus or ride your bike rather than drive your car? Will you donate canned food and used clothes to homeless shelters in your community? Will you volunteer your time to promote a cause which gives you hope?



What actions will you choose for yourself, and then follow through in a way which demonstrates resolve? In the world our young people are growing up in, it is essential we have these discussions regularly. Young people tend to learn what is modeled.

Corrupt CEOs, political rhetoric, national rates of obesity, adult substance abuse, infidelity scandals, pop-star promiscuity, gratuitous violence in the media ” our children are paying attention and they are learning that it is OK to lie, cheat, steal, drug and eat themselves into social apathy. What will you do to make a difference?

We all have a part to play in improving the human condition ” in our own homes, in the communities we live in, and collectively, as members of the human race. Young people who feel pessimistic about the world around them become isolated in their despair and hopelessness. These are the individuals who begin to engage in delinquent and dangerous activities. Our young people require the guidance of caring adults to help reassure them they do make a difference ” they have a contribution to make, they are empowered through their choices.

Ask yourself how you make a difference. If you know someone who could benefit from this discussion, YouthZone can help.

Evan Zislis is YouthZone’s upvalley division manager


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