July 5-- The Paul Anderson Youth Home in Vidalia is using its 50th anniversary to spark what it hopes will be a new era of parental interaction with their kids in the United States.
When a team of cyclists leaves the youth home in Vidalia to retrace the bike trip of founder Paul Anderson to Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska, it takes a message that says, "Make Parent a Verb."
"What we hope is that we begin the start of something where parents begin to take action just like the "Just Say No" movement. We hope that parents begin to say enough is enough. I've seen enough issues going on at school, I've seen enough drugs, I've seen enough sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. I've seen enough of these things to say, for me and my house, we're going to do something different and we're going to start with one thing," says Drew Read, Chief Operating Officer of the Youth Home.
Read notes that parents today spend less than 20 minutes a day with their kids. On thing they can do is make more time to find out what's going on in their children's lives.
"It's not like I've got to my number up to 30 minutes a day. It's like are you actually investing in your child where it is real and genuine. Maybe you only have fifteen minutes, but are you engaging during those fifteen minutes so you really know what's going on in your daughter's or son's life so you can help them manuever through the culture we live in now," he suggests.
According to Read, there's never been a time when children need parents more than today.
"The message is that parents are not engaged and that they have to engage. The issues youth are facing today are just far different from what their parents faced when they were growing up. It's a different society with different issues and it's a minefield out there," Read believes.