Recap National Issues Forum – Our Nation’s Kids, Is Something Wrong?
With the nation’s future in mind, community members gathered Saturday to exchange ideas and create solutions that will enhance the health, happiness and success of South Lake Tahoe’s children.
The challenge was to find solutions they could all live with and, with the help of elected officials, find ways of enriching and balancing children’s lives as much as possible.
The third annual National Issues Forum, sponsored by The American Association of University Women and held at Lake Tahoe Community College, featured three speakers who discussed putting children ahead of self-satisfaction, sharing responsibility and instilling moral discipline.
“I thought we should present three points of view, not just one,” said Florrie Donovan of The American Association of University Women. “When you really solve a problem you bring everyone and everything into the picture. You don’t just make a decision and say, ‘that’s it, it’s done.'”
Organizers and attendees expressed disappointment about the lack of public officials at the forum. About 40 people of all ages joined the daylong event, only three public officials participated.
“People were let down that so few policy-makers, educators and school board members showed up,” said Harriet Goldman, forum facilitator and American Association of University Women past president. “But it was very successful and people really began to feel ownership of the issues.”
Some of the conclusions from group discussions included the need for individual schools getting more involved in the community and becoming activity centers. Participants found mentoring opportunities and parenting classes lacking in the community.
“They also felt that the school board should exert more influence on state legislation,” Goldman said. “It’s important that we, as a community, tell our board what we want because they ultimately make a lot of the decisions that affect our children.”
The need for more after-school activities was addressed as well.
“Perhaps we need to pay more taxes so we can offer activities free of cost,” Goldman said. “Maybe it’s about better use of tax dollars. How can we use that money effectively enough to implement some of these ideas?”
The aim of the forum was to get people talking and thinking about some of the challenges affecting today’s parents, and as a result, their children.
Next year’s forum will address the topic: “From welfare to work, who should we help and how?”
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