Youths not afraid to take on challenges in Porter County

2011-03-06T00:00:00Z Youths not afraid to take on challenges in Porter CountyBy John Scheibel, (219) 548-4358

I had a chance recently to look back over the news for the past year -- and I have to say that I was encouraged by what saw.

There were many bright spots during what was still a tough year for many people.

Sure, we reported news about crime, accidents, fires and politics. But our staff did a great job finding many stories that were positive, even heart-warming.

I was most encouraged by what Porter County youths have done during the last year.

Not only have many excelled in sports and academics, many have reached out to make the community a better place. There were many selfless acts that demonstrate that good will and new ideas are blossoming among the county's younger people.

In Portage, the Willowcreek Middle School Braves traded in their red-and-white jerseys for pink-and-white versions with a message. The eighth-grade boys basketball team took to the basketball court in their first -- and they hope annual -- Braves Battle Cancer game and fundraiser.

The idea came from Noah Simmons, who knew he wanted to do something to combat the disease after playing a game in mid-December. A member of the opposing team was battling the disease and was only able to play a minute or two.

In Kouts, a group of young people realized there wasn't a recycling program in the schools. The sixth-graders formed a club, then approached school officials with a plan to place containers around the school and empty them.

And who thinks about Christmas in October? Members of Hebron's National Junior Honor Society raised $3,500 at a haunted house and through donations. That money was raised to spend on needy families. The students bought gifts for 16 different children, as well as the town's food pantry and new clothing center at the Lutheran Church.

In fact, each community in Porter County had great stories like these. There were too many others to mention is this space.

I think these stories prove a couple points.

Our futures are in good hands. There are a lot of young people who have sought out good things to do, and took that next step and found a way to make them happen.

And, behind every good kid, there are some good adults -- parents, grandparents, teachers, neighbors, clergy. Adults can do wonders for the next generation by setting a good example.

Porter County's future appears to be in good hands.

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