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The Messenger Is the Message

July 25, 1993

I would like to commend Michele Fuetsch for a fine article on youth within the inner city ("A U-Turn Toward Berkeley," June 27). I would also like to commend The Times on an article printed in Voices in the Community--Youth ("It's Too Late to Help My Friends," March 15) by John Cook.

These are powerful messages. Not only because of the message, but also because of the messengers, Desmond Moore and John Cook. Youths in the "hood" often find it easy to separate so-called "good advice" by well-intentioned adults who live outside their neighborhood from the realities of the life confronting them daily from within. When coming from these "educated experts," the hope of a better life appears as nothing more than a dreamland they feel will never come their way. But in the case of Moore and Cook, it's one of their own delivering the message of hope. They are living examples of the consequences of choosing positive alternatives.

Just like Desmond Moore, a high percentage of youths who have been, are presently, or one day will become associated with the gang or criminal lifestyle could easily have become positive citizens had the vision of a better life been presented to them.

It's saddening that such common father-son experiences as tying a tie or eating at a restaurant--minor to most of us--can be such major episodes in the life of those without a father in the home. The shortage is real; the need is great. Every volunteer organization I've been involved with (sports leagues, church, tutorial) bears out the need for positive male role models.

Instead of glorifying those who help others only to get ahead (politicians), the media--both print and broadcast--should expose the efforts of those who get ahead in order to help others. I would be more than happy to send you names of people I've met over the past 10 years who have dedicated their lives to helping others--free of charge. They may be low-income or poor themselves, monetarily speaking, but their hearts are rich with love and concern for the less fortunate.

They are the positive role models to those of us who aspire to be positive role models for others. How about a series about them?

KENNETH B. BILLUPS

Inglewood

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