For many years the Vineyard had a void in service to our young people. We have seen a major shift in awareness from this reality to one in which opportunities to learn, grow, and serve have become more and more widespread. Alex’s Place at the YMCA, the Island Wide Youth Collaborative, CEO, and others have been reaching out to offer opportunities to come together as a community, to learn the importance of supporting one another, and to provide sorely needed service to help young people navigate the often harsh realities of life these days. We need to continue to help level the playing field for our kids, providing opportunities to develop the skills, fortitude, and integrity necessary to compete in an ever-changing world of challenges.
It is my hope that Islanders will continue to stand in support of our kids, seeking to find the ways and means to inspire them, and hopefully create a mechanism to help as many young people as possible establish their lives here so we always have a strong, multigenerational community that can sustain us and help us continue to be a beacon of hope for our elders, and continue to be a place of compassion, hope, and sustainability. What would we do without our young people?
Of course we need your involvement to continue to move forward. Supporting youth supports us all. Investing in their well-being provides the same to our Island. Let’s work to find the ways to create opportunity, housing, and support so we can continue to be that which we desire to be.
Tony Lombardi is the director of Alex’s Place at the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard.