Weekly Feature

2014-02-05 / Editorial

Youth should take cues from Sleepout participants

Bee Editorial

This Friday evening, a group of about 50 youth, in addition to faculty and some parents, will leave the comfort of their own homes to spend the evening sleeping in the cold outdoors. They do this every year to raise money and awareness of the needy throughout Western New York.

Oftentimes young people get a bad rap in the community, with stories publicized about their poor behavior. Yet, so many of them are doing good things in their community, such as participating in the annual Jerry Starr Ken-Ton Schools’ Sleepout, which will take place starting at 8 p.m. in the Hoover Middle School parking lot.

It’s wonderful to see youth coming together to support a good cause in their own community. They give up their time and comfort to raise money and collect donated items.

Everything they raise goes to various charities in WNY, such as the St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy. This event couldn’t have continued for as long as it has — now heading into its 27th year — without the dedicated support of Stephen Ash, who is now retired from teaching at Kenmore West Senior High School. Ash has been organizing the sleepout since its first year in 1988.

By participating in events such as these, we remember each other and, by doing so, remember ourselves. Ash, in answering a question about what keeps him motivated to organize this event, said, “When we lift up those who are downtrodden, we lift ourselves up, too.”

Young people throughout the community should look to those doing good in their neighborhoods, such as the ones participating in the sleepout, and take their cues from them. Here are a group of students who, at a young age, are not thinking about their own welfare but about the welfare of others. They should be commended for what they’re doing, not only Friday night but throughout the year.

We encourage residents throughout Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda to get involved in this wonderful event, whether through sleeping out or through bringing items to donate. Ash said the group accepts a variety of items for donation, including food, gently used clothing items, personal care items and also small furniture items.

Donations may be dropped off at the sleepout site anytime between 7:45 and 9:45 p.m. Friday.

Anyone wishing to donate by check may make it payable to Ken-Ton Schools’ Sleepout Kenmore West High School, 33 Highland Parkway, Buffalo, NY 14223.

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