Wednesday, June 11, 2008

America's Youth: A Generation of Hope

Although contemporary headlines reflect challenges that can easily discourage us, my experience with American youth is that they truly represent a generation of hope.

On Tuesday, June 10, 2008, thanks to the leadership of Linda DePinto, Student Assistant Counselor of Bergenfield High School, I was privileged to participate in a venue highlighting the need to drive and act responsibly during end of school year events such as the prom and graduation parties.

Despite the scorching heat wave gripping the region, the senior class listened intently to the presentations in the auditorium. It was as though the heat of the day reflected the importance of these issues which was expressed through the attentiveness, respect and appreciation of the students.

The first presentation to the students was a passionate plea from Dr. and Mrs. Jorge L. Verea who founded the Rebeka Verea Foundation in honor of their teenage daughter who was killed in a tragic car accident on the night of her high school graduation.

[Reprinted from the Rebeka Verea Foundation Flyer –]

A teenager's adrenaline is very high on their graduation night. Giving the kids the opportunity to have a great night of fun in a safe and secured environment with an alcohol/drug free celebration is the key to preventing another tragedy like ours.

I would like to tell you a little about Rebeka...

Our daughter Rebeka was a beautiful, spirited young woman hoping to serve her community as a medical assistant.

Unfortunately, all of her dreams were shattered on the very same night of her graduation from Cliffside Park High School, she was killed in a car accident on West Side Avenue in North Bergen, New Jersey.

The day of her wake we committed ourselves to do whatever needs to be done to prevent this tragedy from happening again, and a few days later the Rebeka Verea Foundation was launched in her memory.

We have worked with different high schools and we have helped implement Project Graduation at Cliffside Park and Fort Lee High Schools, as well as providing financial help to North Bergen, Teaneck, Dwight Morrow, Union Hill, Emerson, Academies of Englewood, Ridgefield and Memorial High Schools towards Project Graduation.

After the moving testimony of Dr. and Mrs. Verea, I delivered a program titled Generation of Hope: Courageously Making Good Decisions. We took an honest look at contemporary issues, especially those that adversely effect our nation’s youth.

More importantly, we accentuated the good in young people and that they represent hope to their families, communities and the country. Together, we focused on the qualities needed to transform the nation which include:

  • kindness
  • cheerfulness
  • simplicity
  • compassion
  • respect
  • character
  • courage
  • honesty
  • trustworthiness
  • citizenship

The leadership and youth of Bergenfield High School are to be commended for this initiative that reminds students of the importance of vigilance and responsibility as well as their continual call to be the generation of hope for the nation's future.


Rebeka Verea Foundation Click here to visit site

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