``Where does the next generation of humanitarians come from?''
It was just one question out of the dozens asked during Tire Business' visit with the Shays-brothers Jon and Tim and their father Harold-at Main Tire Exchange Inc. in Dansville, but it sparked a lively exchange among the three.
``It seems we have so many dysfunctional homes and so many activities for kids to do,'' said Jon Shay, 2006 winner of the Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award. ``We're seeing programs like the Scouts going downhill fast....
``And it's not necessarily so much the kids' not coming.... You don't have the adults who want to give the time to be the pack masters or den masters or the like.
``To me, those are the people who are really the heroes in a community-the scout masters and the like. Nobody ever recognizes them.''
``The pipeline is beginning to dry up,'' Tim Shay added.
``Look at church attendance.... There are no young people in the churches...it goes back to the home thing,'' Jon Shay said, noting that 60 percent of the students in the local high school come from a home situation other than the traditional two-parent household.
The United Way selection committee in Akron picked up on this aspect of Mr. Shay's attitude, saying, ``Jon's longtime volunteer service is testament to the fact that those who report volunteering in their youth are twice as likely to volunteer as adults.''
Mr. Shay attempts to find ways to counteract this trend through his involvement in Scouting-he was an Eagle Scout at age 12-and Junior Achievement.
Lots of business owners or execs volunteer time teaching high schoolers through Junior Achievement, but Mr. Shay took that experience to the next level, volunteering to teach juvenile offenders at the Livingston County Jail who are attempting to get their general equivalency diploma (GED).
And showing that his involvement doesn't stop when the class ends, Mr. Shay has hired two or three parolees to work for Main Tire.
One of the parolees has worked there for the past two years, and Mr. Shay asks that young man to go back to the county jail with him for classes. ``It lends credence,'' he said. ``They can relate to someone who's been there.''