With reference to a recent article about a 14-year-old girl who fell unconscious in the middle of a street after using narcotics. How can we avoid similar incidents?
Many times parents do not devote the needed time to guide their children with the necessary advice in order to acquire a proper character based on sound principles that will help them avoid the many temptations they will come across in life.
To help children acquire principles is a long-term process combined with the expression of love for the child, until he or she can absorb the way they should behave in life.
The need to work for a living and the survival of the family is usually so demanding that parents may not find the necessary time of the needed contact with their children especially when both parents have to work.
How then can we deal with the problem?
Grand parents can offer valuable help provided they live in the same house or place.
Schools should have been embracing their pupils not only offering them knowledge but also with guidance for the creation of a character based on sound principles but they do not.
The Church is in a position to devote time and resources for the establishment of an appreciable number of youth centres, something a few Metropolitan Bishops are doing, but on a limited scale.
Church Sunday schools are doing a good job, but again they have to be increased in numbers, to embrace more children and to increase their activities.
Certain summer holiday camps are also offering good service but due to the limited time they operate, children stay a week or 10 days, their contribution is supplementary.
So what about the state youth clubs. Their programmes do not cater for the spiritual or the character building needs of their members. Therefore the state must review their programmes to cater at least for good character building.
I recall that during a summer in Platres, the youth center advertised their “project” which was for its members to paint some street walls with various presentations. In Phini village the youth centre is housed in a Restaurant.
To go back to the case of the 14-year-old girl who fell unconscious in the middle of a street due to the use of narcotics, the girl had no parental care so the more the reason for youth centre contact. I believe that if she was a member of a youth club that had the necessary activities and the qualified staff the girl would have found the necessary assistance and would not have come to use narcotics. Having devoted a large part of my life in volunteer youth work, I believe I can make this statement.
I therefore appeal to the Archbishop and all the Metropolitan Bishops to put as their priority the establishment of sufficient youth centres. They have the resources and the time to do it. They will help create a better society.
To mention only one programmed activity of the youth centre, every member he or she will have a “Brother”, an experienced friendly educator to whom the young persons can turn to for help and advice, especially in difficult times.
Before closing I must express a complaint. I have built and equipped at my own expense a large three-storey youth centre at Ayios Athanasios Avenue, Limassol, photo attached, which remains closed for seven years due to the inertia of the public service.
Nicos Rossos, M.A. Economist, Limassol