It's time to start dreaming
I wake up smiling; the dream is fresh in my mind. In it, I am speaking in front of a room of Sonoma County heavy hitters in youth services: Valerie Brown, Nicole Ducarroz, Louann Carlomagno, Kathy Witkowicki, Tim Boeve, Dino Battaglini, Matt Martin, plus parents and students. The room is packed as I head to the podium.
My speech is titled, "What do the youth of Sonoma need?" and after waiting for complete quiet I utter a single word, "jobs" before taking a bow and leaving the stage.
Just as overpopulation is the root cause of many of our environmental problems, a lack of employment is at the root of many of our current youth problems. Kids with jobs do not join gangs, they do not do drugs and they learn to be more respectful and less entitled. Kids with jobs understand the value of money and the simple equation that if you work hard you get stuff.
I have another dream where businesses in Sonoma pair up with Sonoma youth for paid and unpaid internships. Johnny works as a paid intern for Steve Raffini Plumbing, he learns the trade, meets others in other trades and learns that he loves (or hates) plumbing. Jane works as a summer intern for Len Tillem's office. She discovers that she really doesn't want to be a lawyer but a life in broadcasting would be great. Pat interns with David Bolling at the Index-Tribune and finds out that she has a skill writing online news stories.
I have another dream, that I rent La Dee's Diner on Arnold Drive and rename it Walt's, of course. Grow a little farm of fresh veggies in the front (think French Laundry meets Mark Ruffalo's place in "The Kids Are All Right"), and run a student-centered restaurant. Students learn math (design and construction, plus daily accounting), English (marketing and promotion), science (maintaining the farm, cooking, and sustainability) plus PE (working their tails off to run a successful restaurant). It employs 20 kids and becomes a model for other communities.
Dreams? Sure, but so was the space industry and the computer industry and basically anything that's been created in history.
It's time to start dreaming.
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Walt Williams is the newest board member of SVTS (Sonoma Valley Teen Services). Talk dreams with him tonight at the farmers market in stall #30 behind city hall.