JoAnn Davison, an instructor at Turlock High School, said she often hears the phrase, "Kids these days," followed by a shake of the head and some kind of negative comment.
She wants to change that. "Kids these days," she wrote in a letter to The Bee, "are a caring, compassionate group ... who will be the same as adults."
Davison's advisement class recently took up a couple of charitable causes. First, the students pooled their pocket change after seeing a notice in The Bee of Modesto Gospel Mission's Thanksgiving dinner. They came up with enough to serve more than 10 dinners to the needy.
Earlier this month, they took a look at The Bee's A Book of Dreams, the annual fund-raiser for area charities during the holiday season. Each of the class's four tables picked a charity featured in the book and again pooled pocket change, extra cash and, in one case, money made by doing landscaping work.
The teens came up with $110 to give to Haven Women's Center, the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities and Turlock Gospel Mission.
Fourteen-year-old Juan Romo's group chose Catholic Charities because of the organization's work with area homeless. "I see a lot of homeless people," the freshman said. "Catholic Charities doesn't just help Catholics."
Another table, this one dominated by girls, chose Haven Women's Center, which assists victims of domestic violence.
"We talked about how women are always targeted," senior Jenna Anderson, 17, said. "We felt like that's something that we could help with."
This year's A Book of Dreams has so far brought in $54,000-plus — surpassing last year's total by more than $1,000. For more information on the nonprofit groups featured, or to donate, go to www.modbee.com/dreams.
Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter, @pattyguerra.