From the Desk of Victoria Juarez

Sometimes it can seem as though we are awash in dispiriting news about young people. Pick up any newspaper or turn on the television and you’re invariably confronted with a headline about social media excesses or online bullying by teenagers. Again, or so it seems.

I confess to feeling this way on occasion, though in my last job at Girls Inc. of Carpinteria I had the good fortune to mentor and regularly interact with a host of brilliant young women, so my doubts about the next generation were mostly short-lived.

This raises an important point. If you really want a full understanding of the promise, potential, and sincere good will of young people today, spend some time in their company, seek them out. I can assure you the experience will leave you brimming with optimism about the future.

I was reminded of this recently while taking part in interviews for the next round of honors scholarships to be awarded by the Foundation. The applicants were to a person exceptional in every regard – accomplished, ambitious, exceedingly bright, and yet possessed of a generous, gently curious spirit.

At the end of each interview I was genuinely astonished, and by the end of the process I found myself wondering how I could have ever entertained uncertainty about the children in our community. The high school students I interviewed were compassionate, bold, and ready to take on the world!

The takeaway: Exposure to our wonderful young people really is the best antidote to media stereotypes depicting them as disengaged and apathetic.

I’m here to tell you that our young people are in the main extraordinary human beings, and I’m so proud to be doing the work we do at the Scholarship Foundation.

Here’s to a productive and uplifting 2019!