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Children

January 03, 1994

As project director of the new Family Matters program at the Volunteer Center of Los Angles, I engage families in volunteer activities and projects. I commend Richard Rodriguez for his article "Who Are Our Children?" (Opinion, Dec. 19).

The crisis of intimacy Rodriguez writes about is a problem that has far-reaching effects. It's true that parents don't know their children because they don't spend time with them. Economic necessity usually means that both parents work, with the traditional American family of a working husband, a non-working wife and two children now representing only 4% of families.

Children first learn values, compassion, responsibility and reciprocity in the family. It is where give and take, trust and understanding are first taught. But, when parents and children are going in six different directions or when the needs of the adults in the family come first, this process is lost. We see firsthand that stressed families mean stressed communities.

Strong families are critical to the health and well-being of individuals and society. Through family volunteering, children and adults contribute on an equal level and gain a shared sense of purpose. They see other worlds and each other in a different light. While they're making a difference in their communities, the powerful connection they're making with each other will produce a cycle for positive social change.

JANET HARRISON

Volunteer Center of Los Angeles

Los Angeles

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