Youth on violence: Teens need affordable, ongoing creative outlets

August 12, 2012 

Jessica Ralston

Let's face it, being a teenager is an emotional roller-coaster ride.

Those of us who have access to positive outlets such as art, music and writing classes have the ability to channel the raw emotions in positive ways.

Unfortunately, there are too many teens overlooked or unable to take advantage of this.

According to the "Listening to Youth" survey done by the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice, many teens want to participate in creative activities such as dance, music, art and writing. These programs would give them activities to occupy their time and a safe place to interact with their peers.

Outlets for teens to channel their emotions are an important part of handling the stress of school, friends and family life. And it is important for the community to realize this.

Give the teens what they want, and in turn reduce crime rates because teens are busy doing constructive activities they enjoy.

Many Fayette County schools have art, music, dance and creative-writing classes; however, many of the classes are overpopulated resulting in many students not being accepted.

More classes need to be offered. Programs could be integrated into the school day, as well as with extracurricular activities and clubs.

After school ends, the city government and the school board could work to offer more summer programs, including these activities.

If teens become extremely involved in these programs, it may lead them to a career in the creative arts. This would help increase their drive to attend college and would bring down the amount of teenage violence in Lexington.

The city and school board will have to work together to find ways to make these programs more readily available and make them free or reasonably affordable.

It would be worth the effort and cost because it will help teens find acceptable and positive ways to release their anxieties.

Jessica Ralston, 14, attends Bryan Station High School and is a staff writer for the school paper.

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