Resources for kids

"Kids, computers and collaboration - common enough solutions, but what's the problem?Gaps in youth services, if you listen to those involved in the Community Connections for Youth. And the Glaser Foundation certainly was in September of last year, when it awarded a grant proposal by the Housing and Human Services Council $100,000 to establish an umbrella group for island youth agencies. I hope the CCFY can be a model for collective community action, says project director Jan Lambert.I particularly want to give kids a voice. Local youth agency directors support her aim of providing kids up to 18 years of age with a complete set of services. Ideally, it's a one-stop shop, said Bill Reddy of the Housing Resources Board. He believes the public needs to be made aware of the availability of youth services, describing the CCFY as an important bridge-building initiative.And if anyone has experiences to build upon, it's Lambert.Her work as coordinator for the Kitsap County Commission on Children and Youth, whose work include the It's About Time for Kitsap Kids initiative, the State of Our Youth Report, and the Youth Yellow Pages, should give her the necessary resources.Lambert says she has learned that kids need to be given meaningful roles in decision making procedures, and youth agency directors agree. So often, kids are the users, said Connie Mueller, director of Bainbridge Youth Services.Mueller takes the new swimming pool and skate park as examples of planning processes in which kids should have a say, and hopes they will be able to contribute to the forthcoming CCFY newsletter. But in the immediate future, there are other steps to be taken towards collective problem solving. First on the agenda was a directors' forum, bringing youth agencies together to share information. Lambert also stresses the importance of a website for all local youth agencies, and hopes that the information compiled on an integrated database will reveal which agencies could effectively merge, in view of customer cross-over.Jan has done so much towards implementing our goals, said Karen Kushner, who helped apply for the grant in her capacity as board member of the HHHS."

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