Parenting in the 21st Century: Part II

In our last installment we focused on the story of Michael, a twelve year old who turned
tragedy into triumph by using his COMMUNICATION, CREATIVITY, and INNOVATION
skills to grapple with the very tough topic of gun violence. When children are given the
opportunity, they can effectively navigate real-world challenges by using 21st-century
skills. In this issue, we look at another young person Alicia and how she used her skills to
benefit the community.


Alicia is thirteen years old, and she lives in Los Angeles, California. While her neighborhood
is surrounded by orange groves and sunshine, the local grocery stores do not provide fresh
fruit, healthy produce, and organic food options that she and her community members need
to survive and thrive.

This is a huge issue in her community and it feels overwhelming for her to begin to figure
out what to do next. How do you bring healthy, fresh food to a food desert with limited help
and resources?

Alicia joins in together with her friends to see if they can build a community garden at their
middle school and in a few open lots in their community. She and her friends start by
following a few local community gardens on Twitter and Instagram. They reach out to a few
of the owners to see if they can buy seeds and spend the day at their farms learning how to
plant and grow their own produce.

Alicia and her friends also ask her teacher if they can they set up a meeting with the local
representative from their district to see if they can transform a few of the open lots in their
neighborhood into local community gardens.

Fortunately, their local state representative is very receptive to the idea of using the open
spaces for good in their community and he gives them the green light to move forward and
grow the spaces with grants and funding from the state.

During the summer, Alicia and her friends spend their free time cleaning up the
neighborhood lots, painting seed boxes, planting new seeds, and recruiting other volunteers
to help keep the garden going. By the following summer, two of the open lots have been
transformed into beautiful gardens where community members can grow and buy fresh
fruits and vegetables right in their neighborhood.


Alicia created a working resource for her community by using CRITICAL THINKING,
CREATIVITY, and CHOICE. She could have chose to accept the poor food conditions in
her neighborhood, but she decided to reach out to her teachers and local state
representative to see what could be done.

When your children are enthusiastic about an idea, encourage their passion and see how
you can help them bring their ideas to life. It’s a great life lesson for children to realize that
their ideas are important, worthwhile, and worthy of development and contribution.


By Sonia Toledo, CEO of Dignity of Children