In the wake of recent national tragedies, the mental and emotional wellbeing of young people should be at the forefront of every responsible adult’s thoughts. One individual leading a youth-centered crusade in Palm Beach County is Commissioner Cory Neering of District 2. Through his program, Ties That Bind, Commissioner Neering is making certain that youth reach their full potential in spite of possible environmental and societal setbacks. Neering says, “Ties That Bind is about helping more of our young people stay on track and gain life skills. I hope this initiative will help them to think more broadly about their community and future.”
Several initiatives are housed under the Ties That Bind umbrella, but the two that Neering and his team are currently focusing on are youth workshops and back-to-school welcoming ceremonies. On August 15, Neering and several other male volunteers will serve as spirited greeters who will welcome students with a hi-five for success on the first day of school in Palm Beach County.
The Palm Beach Beat had the opportunity to briefly interview Commissioner Neering about Ties That Bind and their upcoming events. Here’s what he had to say.
Palm Beach Beat: What is the meaning behind the name Ties That Bind?
Commissioner Neering: ‘Ties’ is a reference to one or several things that we may have in common. ‘Bind’ refers to the feeling of unity that a shared interest or experience can create. ‘Ties That Bind’ is a mutual belief that links us all together.
PBB: How did the concept for the Ties That Bind program come about?
CN: I decided to begin this program to help ensure that all young people—with a focus on kids in the Historic Northwest, Coleman Park and Pleasant City areas—reach their full potential. Ties that Bind is not the panacea but a step in the right direction. My motto is ‘You only know because someone taught you.’
PBB: As the commissioner of District 2, what do you hope to accomplish with the Ties That Bind program?
CN: Our goal is to introduce and reinforce etiquette and social/life skills for the youth of our community (topic examples: communication skills, goal setting, entrepreneurship, decision making, law enforcement encounters, etc.). The program currently focuses on young men, but will incorporate work with young girls in the future. Our purpose is to help youth in these targeted areas reach their full potential.
PBB: Why do you believe this program is so important to have in West Palm Beach?
CN: Unfortunately, many of our youth are growing up in difficult circumstances, specifically poverty. Research shows us that poverty can impede a young person’s ability to learn and it contributes to social, emotional, and behavioral problems. I grew up in a single parent home and my father and I struggled with poverty and community violence. However, caring adults, a supportive network and initiatives similar to Ties That Bind helped me get to where I am today.
Ties That Bind will not solve all these community issues but the initiative can be a part of the solution. We all have a role to play in making our community better.
PBB: Please explain the mission of the event happening on August 15, 2016?
CN: It is intended to show young people that men from their communities care about their education and wellbeing. Welcoming the youth back to school and wishing them success as they start a new school year is a small gesture that will resonate with all involved.
So far, we have identified four elementary schools in West Palm Beach. We plan to add more schools as additional men signup to volunteer.
PBB: What do you hope this event accomplishes?
CN: It is important for youth to see men present in our community, and for our youth to see there are people who support them. These men are local business owners, attorneys, retired professionals and hold various positions throughout the county. I have always had a passion and desire to help young people and my community. I’m working to change things, one step at a time.
PBB: Will there be any follow up events or check-ins with students who are greeted on the first day of school?
CN: We are planning to host another Ties That Bind event in October at two locations in west Palm Beach for boys and girls. The October event will be a 4-hour workshop. We look forward to other events moving forward.
To learn more about Ties That Bind and their initiatives email Commissioner Cory Neering at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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