Building A Future- Part 3

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"I know when I was growing up, if I did something wrong in front of an adult, that adult took charge of the situation and made sure my parents knew what I had been involved in and not only would I get chastised by the one that caught me, I'd get chastised by my parents."

Bowling Green Detective David Dunn can fondly remember a time when he says the community helped in raising children.

He says that doesn't happen now.

"You see less and less of that kind of thing happening nowadays. People tend to seem like they don't want to become involved in things with people they don't know or situations involving juveniles."

City Commissioner and juvenile system worker Slim Nash agrees.

"If most adults really took an inventory of themselves. When they walk down the street, most adults are more likely to say "Hi", "How you doing?", "How you been?" to another adult rather than they are to say that to a juvenile walking down the street."

Many juvenile workers believe that this lack of community interaction with adolescents increases the likelihood that they will act out against the "perceived" system.

"They are an easy population in our society to overlook and without sounding to corny; they are the next leaders of our society. So the more isolated and invisible they feel, the more difficulty they're going to have leading our society in the future," states Nash.

Marguarita Whiteside can relate to the everyday struggles of juveniles, because not too long ago she was engaging in delinquent behavior.

She says her behavior didn't only affect her but those closest to her.

"Shame, my mom got sick of it. She just got tired of it. I just had to change for my mom, and my family and me."

South Central Kentucky has several agencies that aid juveniles.

The Department of Juvenile Justice, Drug Court, and Court Designated Workers are tasked with turning around the lives of these juveniles.

"So we are focusing more on one-on-one contact with the juvenile, developing avenues of, again, positive peer relations and increasing communication between the parent, the school and the juvenile," says Family Court Judge Margaret Huddleston.

"Still, all of these juvenile workers agree that it is the responsibility of everyday citizens to do their part to enrich the lives of the adolescents in our community."

Whiteside says she learned a lot from her time as a delinquent.

Things she says she may never have learned otherwise.

"It helped. It really did. Now I know how life is and what you go through and you get sick and tired of the things you did and got to change."

She is currently in her senior year of high school and wants to pursue a career in nursing.

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