According to the US Census Bureau, there are about 32,537 people living in Rochester, NY who are between the ages of 10 and 19. They represent a significant 15.4 % of the population plus or minus 0.4 percentage points. They are not to be ignored. Their participation in society is valuable not only because of their numbers, but also because of their age. They have the power to shape society in the future. They will be the productive members of society owning their businesses for better or worse. Many of them already are parents or will be parents within a reasonable amount of time. Their contributions help to shape this city regardless of whether or not they choose to get a high school diploma, attend college, study for the GED or sell crack cocaine to each other. They help define the morals and values of life on the streets and those children grow to accept as normal. This is a portion of the population that is worth investing as much time, money, and resources as our fair city is able to offer if we wish to grow away from crippling poverty and toward a vision of sustainable living that this city has the potential to achieve.
When considering the youth, it is absolutely essential to remember that they don't need resources such as love, positive role models, and an enriching environment to in which to learn and grow older. They grow and develop without any help at all. The trouble is that when they are offered the minimum, they begin to believe that they are not worth the effort. They make the social problems in this city worse instead of better.