The lockers stand vacant, the hallways empty and the air is quiet as the fading sounds of the last nine months echo through the corridors of area schools.
With the beginning of summer — evident in the brilliant weather Curry County has been experiencing — all of the youth who filled those halls until recently will be spilling into the yards, parks and streets looking for fun, relaxation and a release from the rigidity of a structured curriculum in which they have little say.
Be aware of those children whose activities send them shooting into the streets, careening down hills on skateboards and scooters and chasing the errant ball into oncoming traffic.
But more than just being aware, every community has the opportunity — even the requirement — to be involved in the daily lives of area youth.
Say hello as you pass that future X-Games star practicing his bicycle tricks on the sidewalk. Engage that group of children in conversation rather than tsking at their choice of hair color.
Youth who feel appreciated are less likely to destroy flower beds or write graffiti on the side of buildings. Youth who feel they are being noticed are going to be more mindful of the choices they make.
Be aware of the safety of area youth and take notice of them: It will make everyone’s day better, brighter and more fulfilling.