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Neighbors seek to encourage Palo Alto youth

Original post made on Mar 25, 2012

The majority of Palo Alto teens think their neighborhoods are unfriendly, but residents in Midtown say they want to change that perception.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, March 25, 2012, 5:32 PM

Comments (7)

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm

This is not always a misconception among the young people. First you have to have genuinely concerned adults, who are not just going to pay lip service to caring. Green meadow is not a youth friendly neighborhood. It is for adults who like to socialize with one another. They have made it very clear that teens are not welcome at social gatherings. The teens in the neighborhood got the message loud and clear.

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 26, 2012 at 6:32 am

When I was a kid...

Teenagers mowed the neighbors' lawns for pocket money or college savings. Teenagers delivered the morning and afternoon newspapers and went door to door to collect. Teenagers did the babysitting.

Can anyone feel valued if nobody does business with them?

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Posted by Wilson
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2012 at 8:27 am

> When I was a kid...

Ditto.. and more ..

> "Adults in my town make me feel important."

Important? And how does a child become “important” in a neighborhood?

"Adults in my town don't care about me or care about what I say."
Young people in Palo Alto are recipients of the following financial support:

School: $13,000+
City: 2,500+
County: $2000+
State: $2,000+
Total: Over $20K/child

This funding buys access to K-12 system that is one of the best in the state, and a city living experience that is low in violent crime, and otherwise safe for children. There don’t seem to be many drive-by shootings.or open drug sales in the streets, or public places. It there were, it’s hard to believe that adults in this town would not report that activity to the police, and join together as groups to pressure the City to do something to stop these sorts of activities that are harmful to children—whether they understand it, or not!

> And "No one ever says 'Hi' to me on the street."

This may be a fair point, but with a shift towards the “nanny state”, it’s not clear that an adult can not end up being charged under child endangerment laws for the most innocent of interactions with children. For example, there was a man charged with disorderly conduct in Chicago recently for offering two girls on foot a ride in his truck . It was snowing, and the girls didn’t seem to be prepared for the weather. The girls told him that “they were fine”, and the man drove off—without any further interaction. Three days later the police appeared at this home and arrested him. Moral to this story?

Given that the Adults of this town are spending over $20K in local/county/state support for each child in this town, maybe we should begin to ask why those teens complaining are not aware of these expenditures, and why we adults should listen to them complaining about their “situation” in this town?

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 26, 2012 at 9:45 am

Wilson, Funding schools is important. In Palo Alto it has more to do with property values than with genuine concern for the students as human beings rather than just grade and status machines. Valuing young people can take many forms. The students who gave these answers on the survey were not whining, as you imply with your tone, but were responding, when asked, with their genuine sense of the way they are treated within this community. You are a good example of why they feel this way.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm

It works both ways.

I recently tried to interact with a young Palo Alto girl I know. However, she had earphones from her IPod in her ears and her hands were busy texting on her phone. I am not even sure she knew I was there!

Of course it would be wonderful for youth to feel more connected, but I don't know if they know what being more connected means.

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Posted by nat
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I agree with the comment above by "Resident of Another PA Neighborhood". I think that young people today are not learning social skills. This worries me. They tend to communicate with people online and not so much in person. This is poor communication as it is brief, no attention to spelling out words, no deep feelings expressed at length. Skills we took for granted are being lost. So it is difficult to make connections in person when someone is busy on their cellphone or other electronic device. Children are not learning how to listen or to talk in a meaningful way.

And, yes, it's true that there aren't the opportunities for adults in the neighborhood to interact with children that once existed.
I find this true on my own little cul-de-sac and this saddens me.
And, for that matter, there aren't the opportunities for adults to interact either! It was once the interaction between neighbors that introduced the children to safe adults they in turn could interact with. People are busy working, taking care of their children, and have close friends from past associations. I find that neighbors don't interact and the once a year pot luck for the street doesn't change anything. Our culture may be losing social skills.

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Posted by terryg
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 28, 2012 at 7:44 am

Nat, I think that's a great point. I hope we, as adults, can see past that and reach out to the teens. We are the adults and we know ultimately their interactions with a variety of adults will make them better rounded people and will help teach them the social skills. For better or worse they're our future so doing what we can to make them all well adjusted adults helps us all. I just smile and say "hi" to them and sometimes they seems surprised, sometimes they don't even notice and sometimes I get a great smile in return.

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