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Gary W. Moore: Why we should share our time, talent

February 8, 2018 GMT

We are tough on ourselves in our community, but not always in a positive way. I’ve lived in the Kankakee River Valley all my life, and I would not change it. I love our community. We’ve maintained our small-town personality and benefits, while living in the shadow of one of the world’s great cities.

Arlene and I feel blessed to live here.

Are the collection of small towns and villages that make up our “collective community” perfect? Of course not, but we are the masters of our destiny, and the future of the Kankakee River Valley is not yet written. The pen is in the hands of those who work with and influence our youth.

Social media negativity …

There are several social media sites that are focused on life in our area. Most are fun, interesting and positive about the place where we live, while there is one that always is a hot spot of negativity. We are what we think most about. We become like those we spend the most time with, and our attitude and beliefs are formed largely by the environment where we spend our time. Want to be negative? Hang around negative people, but also know very few people become successful who look at life and others negatively. Want to be positive? Hang around positive people. Being positive doesn’t assure success, but I’ll bet on a positive person over a negative one anytime. Whether in person or online, avoid negativity or you run the risk of being negatively influenced.

You can positively influence your future and the future of the Kankakee River Valley

Complaining won’t help. You can make a difference by mentoring and hanging out with kids through local organizations needing volunteers. There is nothing you can do about our future that is more important than positively influencing a child.

Three years ago, Arlene and I started a program in association with Youth for Christ. The group is called the YFC Knight Watchmen Drumline & Color Guard. We teach and mentor kids from all over the Kankakee River Valley, ages 12-19. We teach them to play a drum or handle a flag or rifle. We are expanding to include a brass section and a fife section and, maybe, even a trio of bagpipes. We march, play music and entertain, but the music and marching are only an excuse to take kids off the street and teach them disciple and dedication. We serve about 45 kids but will soon expand to double this size or more. One of our student mentors, Phil Kambic, CEO of Riverside Medical Center, said after a few nights around these kids, “The YFC Knight Watchmen are preparing these kids for a successful life and training the next generation of Riverside employees.” Phil and Lynda Kambic, Bill Buck, Michelle and Morgan Chaney, Sandy Kambic, Ron L. Jackson and Paul Brzeskiewicz work with Arlene and I to make a difference in the community with these kids. Will you join us?

But it’s not just the YFC Knight Watchmen. Coaching/mentoring youth sports, school mentoring, etc., there are many places you can make a difference, and I do not think there is an organization in our area boasting of too many volunteers. Say yes and volunteer. Make a positive difference in the place you live and work by creating a positive future -- one student at a time.

Back to the YFC Knight Watchmen

Come help us. Volunteer. You might say, “I have no talent or skills,” but just showing up on Monday nights and mentoring these kids is great. Being there is showing them you care. Are you a dad with a toolbox? We need you. Are you good at administrative skills? We desperately need your help. Can you play a flute, a fife or any brass or percussion instrument? Come have fun and make a difference.

Have a son or daughter between the ages of 12-19? Bring them to a YFC Knight Watchmen rehearsal and they can join in the fun. No skills required. We will teach any child, and no member is ever cut from our team.

No community ever erects a statue of a critic

It’s easy to complain and throw rocks. It’s more fun and rewarding to make a difference, mentor a child and positively influence the future.

Volunteer. Make a difference. You’ll be glad you did.

For information about volunteering or to have your child become part of the YFC Knight Watchmen, call me.