It’s a big day, kids

One bright Monday morning, it seems that a bunch of people in suits were sitting around a big conference table high up in a skyscraper far, far way. Then the one at the head of the table asked, “What should we worry about today?”

“I know!” somebody else said. “Why don’t we bug people about their health?”

The World Health Organization was born that day at the United Nations in New York City. It was April 7, 1948. Naturally, there was more to it than my simple, little fiction. But whether or not you’ve heard of it before, it has become a very important day.

World Health Day arrives on Friday, April 7 this year, which gives me a chance to ask my favorite question. When somebody tells me something I didn’t know before, whether it’s a teacher, a preacher, or even my favorite newspaper reporter, I always ask the same question:

“So what?”

Well, this year World Health Day matters to Jamestown and to the entire area reached by the Jamestown Gazette. Almost every neighborhood, town and city in our region has experienced the positive influence by the Boys & Girls Club, ever since its founding in 1939 by the Rotary Club of Jamestown. It is a special place where healthy, young lives are built.

This year’s World Health Day will focus on a topic which deeply affects young people: depression. Among its tragic consequences is suicide, the second leading cause of death between the ages of 10 and 24. That’s more than caused by cancer, AIDS, pneumonia, flu, heart disease, birth defects, chronic lung disease and stroke, all combined.

Yet, there is good news. Depression can be prevented and treated. The World Health Day slogan for this year is, “Let’s talk”. Talking with people you know and trust can be a good first step toward prevention and recovery.

Children and teens who start their lives in places like the Boys & Girls Club of Jamestown – a clean, supervised and fun place where they gain confidence, self-esteem, social skills and time for talking to other kids, some who will become lifelong friends – receive a powerful dose of immunity against the illness of depression.

So this week the Jamestown Gazette offers you another of our frequent invitations to a wonderful community event that might help you combine the observance of World Health Day on Friday with the celebration at the Boys & Girls Club County Showcase To Benefit the Club on Sunday afternoon.

It will be an opportunity to experience the kind of community-building that starts with our young people, and will someday continue when they contribute to the world-building work that World Health Day celebrates.

So, for anyone who has not yet seen the Boys and Girls Club for themselves, the event offers a wonderful opportunity to realize what has been achieved over the years with one of the community’s most venerable old mansions to place it into service to our young people. And discover how such a great place for boys and girls is also a place that serves their families and schools.

Enjoy a great afternoon, a chance to greet old friends you may have known since the days of your own youth, and of course, once again, right here, enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut