On August 23, I attended the annual Gardena Jazz Festival. Former Assemblymember Steven Bradford (whose district included Inglewood) has been organizing the event for years, bringing top jazz entertainers to the South Bay.
As usual, the music was phenomenal. However, what made this festival even extra special was the addition of youth volunteers assigned to welcome and seat the guests.
There were young high school students catering to people. They were so nice, professional and respectful that I just have to acknowledge them. In this age where young people are doing many negative things to get attention, it’s so nice to see some of them have humble spirits and are willing to serve without an attitude.
This is a far cry from what we have been accustomed to seeing over the years. And while I support the energy of young activists, I think some of them have forgotten about respect for older people, or for other people in general.
If what I saw in Gardena is a sign of things to come, then the future is going to be brighter for everyone. It reminded me of the type of respect that you typically see from young people in the South.
Adults would do well to recognize when young people go the extra mile. These kids are unbelievable! If there was anything you needed, anything you asked for, their attitude was “can do, will do, we’ll get it done.”
It was so refreshing to see such a high level of respect coming from teenagers because this age category is typically associated with rebellion against authority. Some just seem to be wired that way. Left to their own devices, teens can become unruly. But it all depends on their upbringing. With strong adults in their lives, they can maintain their independence, without becoming rude or self-indulgent.
Of course, it’s no accident that these young people are showing exemplary behavior. Their parents or guardians have played key role in their becoming who they are. If we were introduced to the adults who helped raise them, we would find they invested time, energy, and effort in teaching their kids right from wrong. We would find that the adults are themselves kind, courteous and respectful of others. Leading by example is the best way to teach. The saying that an apple does not fall far from the tree is very true.
Maybe the apparent lack of respect and professionalism that I see from young people and adults nowadays makes me appreciate these young volunteers more. I am just happy that I could experience it at all. Having these teenagers present to take care of me was like a breath of fresh air. I will never forget it.
I’d like to thank Steven Bradford for inviting me to the Gardena Jazz Festival. Once again, sir, it was excellent. And I want to encourage whoever is working with the youth volunteers to keep on going. You are making a difference in their lives. And your work is being noticed by those fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of their kindness.