A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed a really special evening at the Middle School of the Kennebunks. It was sponsored by the Positive School Climate Committee, which is affiliated with the middle school’s guidance department.

The program began with a presentation by Dr. William Paterson, from the University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine and project director of Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition. He discussed at length the delights, the difficulties and the dangers facing young people of middle school age, who are rapidly moving through adolescence.

It was highly informative, and Dr. Paterson offered a national as well as a local perspective. This was followed by four breakout interactive sessions, run by school counselors and teachers. The topics for discussion were adolescent brain development, healthy relationships, social media and adolescent anxiety.

The evening was extremely well-run and finished right on time, though people stayed on to talk over refreshments provided the Middle School Parent Teacher Group. The opportunity to share concerns and to understand the common nature of the issues facing the young people in our community was much appreciated.

Though most people attending were parents, this was an evening of great value for grandparents such as myself, as well as neighbors, church communities and for all who love and cherish our youth, and who want the very best for them. Hopefully there will be another such evening planned in the spring time.

-Gillian Charbonneau, Kennebunk