Friday, January 8, 2010

It's Good News!

That headline always used to make me laugh. The editors of my hometown newspaper would use it on occasion, no doubt to help clarify that indeed what followed was not another horrible account of burglary, murder or downtrodden man—which always seemed kind of sad. Is all news inherently bad? Have we come to expect that everything we read in our daily newspapers will undoubtedly be negative? I for one don’t think so. There’s no question that bold-faced headlines sell papers, but how about moving the good that people do up front, instead highlighting the miscreants that stir society’s pot? Take this story buried on page 15 of yesterday’s Royal Gazette. It’s about Raleigh International, a youth development organization that aims to empower and educate young Bermudians through a vast network of mentoring programs. Through donations, partners and corporate sponsors Raleigh is able to help kids ages 17-25 reach their full potential as young adults—mainly teaching them how to avoid day-to-day risks including drug and alcohol use, crime and anti-social behavior among others. Even better the organization takes kids on a ten-week overseas expedition, where participants work on community and environmental projects that not only help them grow personally, but empower the local population (see above). I’m not talking about picking grapes in France, either. In 2007 kids traveled to Namibia and Borneo, where they worked with villagers to build a kindergarten, cultural center and library. Which was really just the tip of the iceberg: They also collected data on desert dwelling elephants, participated in underwater cleanup operations and constructed aviaries for rare and endangered birds. How’s that for confidence building? Best of all participants are one hundred percent sponsored, again through the goodness of private donations and fundraisers. Raleigh's latest drive to raise capital is called the Kinabalu Challenge—basically a mini Survivor in Malaysia, with ten teams of four Bermuda residents hiking, biking, and rafting their way through the rainforest to raise money and awareness for this great organization. I for one applaud Raleigh and its good work. If you agree, feel free to visit its website to learn how you can make a donation. And perhaps next time there’s good news to report, the powers-that-be will place it where it ought to be: Page one.

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