I have two daughters, ages 21 and 24. As I watch them and their friends move into adulthood, I see them encounter many barriers. For many young adults finding quality work is an issues, certainly the high cost of housing combined with low salaries make it difficult to make ends meet, but they face even deeper issues than this. For those not on a solid four-year college track there is little help in finding alternative career paths. For those going to four-year college there is frustration with the high cost of tuition and the reality of paying for a college degree that often does not ultimately match the career they are interested in.
Both of my daughters struggled in High School due to disabilities, a reading disability and ADD, and we were lucky that they were able to participate in special education programs offered through the public education system. They both successfully completed High School and went on to college. My oldest, Kate entered a technical college, but left after one year and instead got her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). She has been working in nursing homes for almost five years. My younger daughter, Genna, went to a four-year state college and is still attending, although the degree she is completing is not in the field she now knows she wants to pursue.
When I speak to young adults in the community I see their concerns with national issues, but I also hear them speak about problems they see their friends and family members going through. They talk about their concerns for the environment, small business, education accessibility, immigration, equal rights and more. So often we hear young adults describe as apathetic or uninterested in the concerns of our communities. I do not find this to be true. They are very concerned, they just do not feel they are ever heard. This summer it is my goal to hear young adults, to dialogue with them about the problems in our communities and to figure out how we can work together to make things better.