Editorial: Thanks to the young who get involved
When you're about to give up on the world, pause to remember the young people who make up this year's Daily Herald Leadership Team.
When you start to think that the country's best days are behind us or that there are only dark days ahead, remind yourself that the young generation includes a lot of right-thinking people intent on making the world a better place.
If you look at the makeup of these teams, which we announced in Thursday's editions, you'll find yourself both encouraged and inspired by what you find.
We've been recognizing these Leadership Teams for 15 years now -- four regional teams of 10 outstanding high school students, 40 in all. (There are scores of honorable mentions too.)
Each year, we come away not just impressed, but amazed by the good that area students are doing. We wish we had that much energy and dedication when we were that age.
This recognition, aided by the cooperation of area high schools and selected through the work of a dedicated panel of judges, represents the best of today's suburban teenagers, students whose participation goes far beyond the classroom.
They give of themselves in amazing volunteer efforts aimed to help the community and in many cases, the world.
Listen to some of the voices from this year's team.
"My journey through service centers around what my vision for fairness is," said Olivia Sorenson, a Stevenson High School student from Kildeer, "and my belief that an unfair world is not a hopeless conclusion but a chance for improvement."
"My identity is much more than my future career," said Tushar Dwivedi, a Neuqua Valley High School student from Naperville. "It has its roots in my core values and passions."
"My dream," said Millen Srivastava, a Barrington High School student from South Barrington, is "to change the world through science, leadership and social awareness. My focus (is) education, medicine and community service. My hope (is) to have lived knowing I made a difference in people's lives."
"The coolest thing about volunteering is the exposure," said Justin Cruz, a St. Viator High School student from Palatine. "It forces you to go outside your comfort zone, to embrace someone or something you'd rather not and learn something from them."
This year's Daily Herald Leadership Team, like all the Leadership Teams of the past several years, is an incredible group that is doing incredible things.
Congratulations to them.
But thanks to them even more.
Thanks for all the ways they make life better. Thanks for the potential they show for doing even more. Thanks for serving as models to others.
And thanks for uplifting all of us, for reminding us that bemoaning the world's problems does not solve them.
Getting involved does.