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Slow down, leave early for school

It’s that time of year again, when our neighborhood streets become flooded with children and teenagers, cars and buses, on their way to school.

From the 6-year-old kid who is going to kindergarten for his or her first day to the 17-year-old teenager working on his or her final year of high school, they’ll be everywhere. And their parents will be driving them — or maybe they’ll be driving themselves for the first time.

Police vehicles will be out in force around our school buildings, making sure drivers stop for pedestrians and slow down to the 20 mph speed limit around school zones.

Make their job easier this week — and our kids and teens safer — and leave a bit earlier for work or school. Take your time and keep your foot light on the gas pedal. Be patient, and don’t forget to stop for buses when they’ve got their lights blinking.

The start of a fresh school year is an exciting time for kids, parents, teachers, staff and administrators. Rather than getting impatient and dreading the impending traffic, smile at children as you stop or slow down for them. Wish them good luck and a good day.

It’s also time to look at your schedule and see how you can help alleviate some pressure on school employees by volunteering.

Our schools have many chances and ways to volunteer, from reading to kindergarteners who need extra help to attending parent-teacher organization meetings. Some schools may need a community volunteer to help in the library or to help mentor children in art or a profession.

Volunteers are often subject to background checks — check with your school for more details on how you can get involved.

When the adults in the neighborhood join forces to help our youths, it helps grow the community locally and at large. These are the future leaders of our community, our state and our nation. They are the ones who will develop a cure for cancer or the next iPhone technology. These are the kids who will figure out the answers to questions we continue to ask. They’ll build better roads, better homes and better skyscrapers. Maybe they’ll even build a better mousetrap.

But without the proper support and education, the chances of any of that decrease substantially. Be a part of the solution and volunteer.

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