Coalition for Bedford Youth donates to Salvation Army Kids Cafe program

On April 15, Coalition for Bedford Youth teens presented a check to the Salvation Army Kids’ Cafe program in Manchester. The proceeds from the raffle, collected from the entertaining and successful “Lurgio’s Got Talent Show,” were given to Kids’ Cafe, which is dedicated to empowering inner city youth by providing a safe environment that fosters individual growth and emphasizes community involvement.

CBY teens volunteer their time interacting with youth from the Kids’ Cafe Program. They work with kids ages 12 and younger, participating in recreational activities such as dodgeball, arts and crafts, as well as conversing with them over a hot meal that is usually provided four nights a week by the Kids Cafe.

CBY hosted the “Lurgio’s Got Talent Show,” which is its biggest annual fundraiser, at the end of March. Community members, families, peers and teachers filled the Bedford High School theater to show their support while watching performances from the Ross A. Lurgio School student body.

CBY teens were responsible for planning and organizing this event to make it as successful as it has been year after year.

The guidance from CBY advisors, even though minimal, is one that allows the teens to believe in themselves and have faith in their actions. If things don’t go quite the way they planned, CBY members are encouraged to analyze how they could improve that event the next time. Self-esteem is asset 38 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Research shows that young people who feel good about themselves have positive relationships with parents and peers, increased academic achievement, and a decreased susceptibility to negative peer pressure. Young people’s self-esteem increases when they feel loved, respected, accepted, taken seriously, and listened to. Feeling safe and secure, and able to make choices and do good deeds also boosts self-esteem. The most important key to building other’s self-esteem is to let them know they matter and are an important part of society. CBY instills this asset in its meetings and events, giving its members the opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas on how to contribute to the community. This empowers them to be confident and to develop great leadership skills as well as forming a close bond with the community. It’s also important to teach young people the values and actions that will build genuine self-esteem, including caring, giving, treating others with kindness and tolerance. CBY promotes these qualities through programs such as Kids’ Cafe, Camp Allen and local service projects.

To learn more about CBY, visit www.cbynh.org. To learn more about Search Institute, the 40 Developmental Assets and acquire ideas for helping young people build these assets, visit www.search-
institute.org.