"The Forum" is a place where people can discuss substantive issues raised in previous issues of Research & Creative Activity. We invite you, our readers, to take this opportunity to speak out.
The critical need for reaching youth considered to be at risk and making a difference in their lives was the focus of the January issue of Research & Creative Activity. What a refreshing change to finally move beyond the blame game of who is at fault and why the system has failed to a rational discussion of new and innovative means for making a difference in the lives of today's youth!
In my reading, it became abundantly clear that if we are to understand and to be effective in our dealings with children, we must get beyond the term "youth at risk" simply as a euphemism for minority youth. Although many minority youths are at risk for negative health consequences resulting from their environment and behavior, all youth have the potential for being at risk. The featured researchers are wise in recognizing that although it may not be possible to build utopian futures for all youth, it is possible and important to take part in the noble task of helping build youth for a future in which they will become contributing members of society.
The message throughout the issue is one of hope. Hope that by better understanding youth, we can intervene in more effective ways. Hope that through sensitive, caring, and sustained adult intervention, youth can be reached. Hope that through creative programming and the positive use of leisure, the lives of youth will be transformed.
The scholarly efforts outlined by the authors provided this reader with a sense that Indiana University is indeed making a difference in the lives of children, and that in many ways we are on the cutting edge of youth intervention.
David L. Gallahue
Professor of Kinesiology
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research
School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation
Indiana University Bloomington