Monday, October 11, 2010

Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches

I'd like to tell you about this great service to our community. I stumbled across this while renewing my car registration online, and I came to the page where you pick a worthy cause to make a donation to (or not). After staring at the 15 or so charities staring back at me, seemingly with their hands outstretched, I nearly gave up in frustration: how do you choose among so many completely worthy causes? I want to help save the manatees AND the marine turtle, and well, children need to be saved from abuse and veterans deserve a decent place to live ... *forehead connects with desk* ... perhaps I should pick one that maybe doesn't get the kind of attention the manatees probably get?

Armed with that focus I went through them again, and one caught my eye that I wasn't familiar with - Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches. Sounds like an outreach program. I was right. I settled on that one because it really spoke to me, louder than the other ones did. Troubled youth holds a special place in my heart for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that I'm married to a reformed, former troubled youth, but also from watching Naruto, the ultimate story of a reformed troubled youth.

Youth are our future. Every day at work I hear stories of more and more funding being pulled from the very things that cultivate a solid future: education, the arts, sports. Not to mention the increase of bullying stories, some with very tragic endings. And lest we forget the youth being raised in single-parent homes because the other parent is either off fighting in a war, or never coming home because of that war! These are troubled times, cultivating more troubled youth than ever before. At least places like the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches gives both the kids and their parents some light at the end of this dismal tunnel.

I want the world to know I support this very worthy cause, and I hope after reading this you will consider supporting them too, either here in Florida or in your own community.

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