My Dreams for My Community Essay Contest

To the editor:

As an adult, I’m seeing such turmoil, strife, environmental and personal acrimony in our world now and in the past few years. The leaders of our country and even the world seem insensitive to the struggles of everyday people. Politics is just plain ugly. No one seems to want to listen to the “other side.”

In April of this year, the Community Engagement Committee of Adirondack Voters for Change partnered with the Adirondack Center for Writing to find out what the youth, ages 13 through 25 were thinking about their world. We held an essay contest with the title “My Dreams for My Community.” The entrants were to describe their community — i.e. friends, neighborhood, group, or even their town. This contest was a first for both the ACW and AVFC. We had no idea what to expect.

The essays turned out to be straight from the heart. The winners were asked to read their essays at an awards ceremony on Aug. 28. Hearing the entrants read their words made their thoughts even more powerful. The Engagement Committee took quotes from all the essays and displayed them on the walls of the ACW’s store. Below are some of the quotes. If we read their thoughts, we will see that this is what all humanity yearns for. Our leaders and all adults could hold these as a guide to how we can make our world a better place.

The following are examples of some of the quotes from the essays, not just the winners, that we felt exemplified what the entrants’ thought were important.

¯ “A community is a safe place”

¯ “… for children to feel included”

¯ “… for children to figure out who they are”

¯ “… to not be afraid to turn around in someone’s driveway”

¯ “To have a community is to have understanding and support and to give back in return”

¯ “A community is an accepting and welcoming place for everyone”

¯ “to value differences and uniqueness”

¯ “to be there…to simply listen”

¯ “to have more empathy”

¯ “I like to associate with people who think differently”

¯ “DNA doesn’t make a family, it’s the love that makes one”

¯ “Why is it so hard to accept each other?”

¯ “My dream for my community is to for it to stay beautiful”

¯ “Help keep it clean and help make the Earth a safer and more sustainable place to live”

¯ “… to come together to fight the climate crisis”

¯ “I am only 13 but why should they stop me from trying to create change”

Winners of the essay contest in the 13- through 18-year-old category are: first place, Emma Anand, Warrensburg; second place, Kaidence Spooner, Keeseville; and third place, Evan Branch, Westport. Honorable mentions were Rebecca Cook-Chevier (Brushton), Thea Kennedy (Bolton Landing) and Delphine Mann (Troy).

Winners of the 19- through 25-year-old category were: first place, Jacob Andre, Peru; and second place, Lee Ames, Canton. Honorable mention went to Adalyne Perryman, Lake Placid.

Sue Abbott-Jones

AVFC Community Engagement Committee

Saranac Lake

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