In the post-mortem of youth-adult dialogues in Lewiston, an interesting statistic has emerged: 98 percent of the participants said their understanding of the other’s attitudes and beliefs increased from the exercise.

The program was called YADA, for Youth + Adults + Dialogue = Action. Dozens of volunteers met at the Lewiston Public Library for a series of discussions last year; the effort is now charting its future course.

The almost unanimous claim of increased understanding is striking because it proves two important points: that youth-adult conversation, as equals, is not only possible but progressive and these types of discussions, unfortunately, don’t happen enough.

YADA was born to equalize the relationship between Lewiston-Auburn’s youth and adult populations, and open avenues for the betterment of the community. It appears to have succeeded in this mission. Two high school-age YADA participants were invited to Denver recently to help other adults nurture ways to communicate with youth.

Now, YADA is taking its next step: turning its thoughts into action. As with any social movement, this genesis is the most critical step. It should be taken later this year.

But the hard part has already been done: finding common ground between generations, and having them learn and respect each other, is quite the achievement, of which the organizers and participants of YADA should be proud.


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