Part 1 of 2: The state of role models
January 14, 2013 · Print This Article
Role models, a novel concept in today’s age, within a culture which measures success by material possessions and appearance, a person who can be admired; a person who provides guidance, and a person with high moral standards appears to be nonexistent.
Who are today’s role models? Can our youth of today look to anyone local or national to mold their lives after? Could a life be molded after arguably our greatest president in the last 20 years? Last 50? Perhaps a clergyman? An entertainer? A local politician? A parent?
“A role model is someone who inspires people to do whatever it is they are great at,” said Diane Marrero –Pinto, director of the Young Adult Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services (YAADA), and president of the Ohio Hispanic Heritage Coalition (OHHC), in Lorain. “The [youth] already have the fight. [A role model will] inspire people to use that gift to the best of their ability, they allow that person to lead and shine”
To lead and shine, another concept foreign to so many young people in our society. Often a leader forfeits material possessions to do what is right, to stand up for a belief despite popular opinion. To go against the status quo. However, in today’s society how can a young person find a role model while trying to find oneself?
“At that age they are very influential,” said Ruben Rivera, a bilingual paraprofessional in an Ohio junior high public school district. “At that age they are trying to figure out what good and bad are, they still see things in black and white.” Rivera believes youth are simply trying to “find their way” and “figure out things”. They develop daily habits or patterns and stay with them through high school.
Perhaps one reason role models are hard to find is because youth never leave this “pattern” as they enter into adulthood.
According to the Ohio department of education, over the past 10 years, the city of Lorain has lost about 3,000 students in its public school district, and the Ohio Department of Job and Family services show as well as the local police statistics show crime has risen, and employment has decreased, causing the economy to struggle.
“The young people in the city feel lost. There’s a lack of voice in our city, if you’re not in the in crowd your voice is always put to the side that diminishes people’s goals,” said Pastor Angel Arroyo of DOTCOM ministries’. “It’s tough for the young kids because there are not a lot of things to go on for the young kids. There are a lot of programs but if you’re labeled a troubled kid that has been arrested, or if you’re labeled a gang member those agencies don’t want to help.”
Arroyo says a role model has to have vision, share wisdom and guide youth in the right direction. So in Lorain, a city where 85 percent of the school children are in poverty (Ohio Department of Education), who do they have to guide them, to mold them, to show them how to be an adult respected and admired?