To Whom It May Concern: A letter from our President
I am the President of a non-profit corporation that needs your assistance in order to operate. On behalf of our mission and the children and animals that we aim to assist, I ask that you please take a few minutes of your valuable time to read about our purpose, goals and how you can help us to achieve those goals.
America is fighting a war right now and I’m not talking about the one overseas. This war is much closer to home… in fact, this battle is being fought within our homes. The outcome of this war affects not just the future of our country, but the future of our entire world. The war that I am referring to is the war to save our children… and it is the war that we are losing.
Every time that a child uses violence in an attempt to solve a problem, we take a hit. When a kid trades their education for a life of crime to satisfy a void in their life, bombs explode on the home front. When an adolescent uses sex to solidify a relationship, drugs to quiet the chaos in their mind, suicide to end their pain, we lose another battle.
In the book No Matter How Loud I Shout, the author, Edward Humes, interviews a delinquent youth by the name of Richard Perez. Perez, in response to a question regarding his charges replies, “If you’re strong enough to take something, why not take it?”
When did that mentality become acceptable in our society? When did it become ok to foster greed and a sense of entitlement in our youth rather than benevolence and generosity?
It did not ever become ok, yet it still happened and is continuing to happen. Without structure, consistency and positive influences, the insidious diseases of selfishness, addiction, and depression will infect our children.
The proof is everywhere, as the following statistics reveal.
In the past 60 years, the suicide rate has quadrupled for males 15 to 24 years old, and has doubled for females of the same age (CDC, 2002). In 2006, suicide ranked as the third leading cause of death for young people (ages 15-19 and 15-24); only accidents and homicides occurred more frequently (American Association of Suicidology, 2009). In Pennsylvania, the 2006 youth suicide rate was 10.2%, which was .3% above the national average of 9.9% (American Association of Suicidology, 2009).
Half of teens (50%) have tried an illicit drug by the time they finish high school (Monitoring the Future, 2005). In 2005, 9.9% of youths ages 12-17 were current illicit drug users (SAMHSA, 2005). An estimated 116,000 illicit drug users in Pennsylvania were between the ages of 12 and 17 (US No Drugs, 2009). An estimated 265,000 illicit drug users in PA were between the ages of 18 and 25 (US No Drugs, 2009)
According to a 2007 survey by the CDC, 35.5% of youth in grades 9-12 reported being in a physical fight in the past year. Juveniles accounted for 16% of all violent crime arrests and 26% of all property crime arrests in 2007 (Puzzanchera, 2009). In 2007, 1,350 juveniles were arrested for murder, 3,580 for forcible rape, and 57,650 for aggravated assault (Puzzanchera, 2009).
One third of girls in the United States got pregnant before age 20, and more than 435,000 babies were born to teenagers 15-19 in 2006 (CDC, 2009).
Every 4 minutes, a child is arrested for drug abuse. Every 5 minutes, a child is arrested for a violent crime. Every 4 hours, a child commits suicide.
The evidence of the deterioration of the hearts and souls of our youth isn’t just in numbers. It is written in the depressed cheeks and bony limbs of kids that got caught up in the hurricane of addiction. It is carved into the furrowed brows and angry stares of young drug dealers. It is stamped as a failing grade into the report cards of former honor students, children who never learned how to deal with pressure. It is etched into the gravestones of our children, children who lost their lives in this war. It is screaming from behind the eyes of those who are left. It cannot be changed by people who do not love and care about our children. It cannot be silenced by half-hearted attempts to reach out to young people. By continuing to endorse such things, it seems we’re surrendering to this problem.
If the trends continue, we will be left only with memories of what our children’s hearts used to look like, before they were polluted with the filth of violence, addiction, crime, depression, suicide, and the many other loads of garbage that are hurled in their direction. Yes, it’s true that if we take no action, all the things we wished for our children will remain wishes. The images of what could have been will be all that we’ll have left to flip through like a Rolodex as we lay down at night, trying to fall asleep, wondering if we could’ve done more. And, after reading this letter, you will not question whether or not you could have done more, because you can do more. You can do more today, right now!
By donating to or volunteering at Spirit Fire Farm, Inc., you will be investing in the development of hope in young people. We will use music and art as a means of positively channeling creativity. We will provide tutoring and homework help to encourage youth to stay in school. We will rescue abused and neglected animals and the youth in our program will work alongside staff to rehabilitate them and find them loving homes. Children who have been through difficult circumstances themselves can relate to such animals, who stir up emotion and teach compassion and empathy. When kids are given the opportunity to help other living beings and see what love can do, they are more willing to give it. By employing dedicated, loving staff that share our mission and wish to cultivate the dreams of young people, we will be successful in achieving our goals.
Thank you for your valuable time.
Love (yes, I said it),