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Melissa Kelley

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June 13, 2014
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‘Good News NC’ shifts our perspective

As fate would have it, I have probably one of the coolest jobs on the planet arriving here by choice, chance and a lot of hard work.

I am a prevention advocate for the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County and Community Recovery Resources (CoRR), where I am one of the hundreds of community members promoting successful youth and a promising future for all.

As a local outreach person and prevention worker, I just spent the larger part of my day hanging out with some pretty remarkable teenagers at the Silver Springs High School Health Fair.

At first, sharing the “Good News” required explanation: “The positive is the spirit of hope and community that we all share in the knowledge that, irrespective of our temporary conditions, we can better ourselves, our cultures and the world.” (Dr. Jeff Linkenbach). As simple as this concept seems, it’s actually a much more complex task to shift an entire culture and to highlight the amazing things people do in, for and through our community.

Why good news? There are so many ways that positive news can improve our lives by bringing emotional well-being, inspiration and health. We know that we won’t have to look too far in Nevada County to find good news about people young and old, here in our wonderful community.

One thing was evident from my adventure — high school has changed an awful lot in the last 20 years. As the day went on, I more and more participants hared their life stories with me … stories of impact from returning home after living in foster care, getting six months clean, qualifying for the Navy and surviving traumatic experiences like gun-shot wounds. What a remarkable group of adolescents — in school and participating in a health fair instead of running around on the streets and getting into trouble, as the media would have us believe teens are doing at increasing rates.

Pay attention adults … this is the future. Our future rests in the hands of these incredible youth who have overcome such adversity that I left the campus feeling motivated, inspired and blissful at having had the opportunity to bask in the glow of their youthful spirits. My new friends hung out long after the event ended and we talked … future plans, past experiences, the wonder of what tomorrow could possibly bring.

We are constantly immersed in tragic stories — from television news to films, novels and TV programs. “Good News NC” seeks to shift the tragedy and not ignore reality, but embrace another reality by highlighting what’s right with our youth and our community as a whole. The inspiring real-life stories we will tell here are stories of faith, hope and love, stories of challenges overcome as well as small, unexpected moments of grace.

More importantly, our inspiring true stories are about you and me and by people like us — people who have discovered how to live their lives with more hope and joy, and through their stories and experiences, have helped others to do the same.

This is an opportunity for you to share a piece of your story with others. You can ask for your name to be left out for anonymity and share your story in a general way. Either way … please share. Your light may provide strength and encouragement for someone else in their time of need. The caves you’ve traveled into and come out of with grace and dignity may offer just the right words for someone on the verge of losing hope. Continue to recognize the beauty that is all around us in our community and tell people about it!

If you see a teenager picking up trash, thank them. Good news spreads like wildfire if we let it. Let us encourage, uplift and inspire our community to take action and promote the positive.

Good News NC offers change for the better for Nevada County. Let us nurture the seeds of the future so that our children’s children will know that they, too, have the opportunity to shine. After all … nothing grows without sunshine!

Share your Good News story at www.GoodNewsNC.us.

Melissa Kelley is a prevention advocate for the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County.

There are so many ways that positive news can improve our lives by bringing emotional well-being, inspiration and health.


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The Union Updated Jun 13, 2014 11:33PM Published Jun 13, 2014 11:33PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.