Since its inception in 1997, SOCK has been Mason County’s chief proponent of positive “living & learning” alternatives for local youth.
SOCK serves all youth and is especially concerned with those most at risk of juvenile delinquency, violence, gang involvement, substance abuse, early pregnancy and academic failure. Fundamentally, three core beliefs influence our approach to young people, and the types of programs we offer them.
Too many causes to champion only one
Across our nation, countless bookshelves are filled with titles of works purported to explain what is wrong with kids today. Indeed, you can make a case-by-case argument that problems with today’s youth are due to (a) poor parenting; (b) decaying school systems; (c) loss of family values or traditional structure; (d) drugs, alcohol and other chemical substances; (e) peer pressure; (f) poor study habits in school; (g) poor self esteem; (h) severe parental neglect or abuse (i) violent video games; (j) a decline in physical education, nutrition and overall physical health; (k) negative influence of television, music and movies––the list goes on and on.
At SOCK, we do not crusade on behalf of any one cause or solution. Rather, we serve a variety of youth, who in turn, present a variety of “back stories” as far as individual at-risk factors are concerned.
First core belief
Despite the many different influences weighing on a young person today, we, as an organization, hold as our first core belief that SOCK’s primary role is to offer each and every child, no matter their background or current situation, a glimpse into the world of possibilities. Our mission is to present youth with a chance to discover, for themselves, new alternatives to the problems they face.
Second core belief: show by example
Take action. Set examples. Show enthusiasm, and you will find it easier to get people involved.
SOCK has always used a “hands on” approach to teaching young people, whether through our KWiP Mentoring program, our Community Technology Center and Digital Media Studio, community gardening and clean-up projects, all the way to arranging open mic poetry readings or simple pickup basketball games.
Kids know when you care
When you take the time to show kids how to do things, you demonstrate that you care. Many young people are looking for connection, especially with adult role models who care. Such connections open up the chance for ongoing positive influence.
Third core belief: kids need a place of their own
SOCK was Shelton’s only youth center and kids’ gathering place for over 10 years. Currently, we are not able to utilize the space in the armory like we used to; but we remain committed to the vision of a safe and structured facility with space for our community’s youth and their families. We are currently working with a group of supporters to manifest this vision.