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We live in interesting times, a world swirling with people and their loves and hates.

It can be difficult figuring out what really matters, what counts in an age when every breaking-news cycle lasts a few minutes, like a sudden flash of light, then we’re off to the next big thing.

There is one enduring fact that confronts us — keeping our children safe, and preparing them for what can only be described as an uncertain future. Because, when you really think about it, every future is uncertain.

All of which leads us to our first roses presentation on this gloomy Saturday morning, and it goes to the adult planners in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District who put together a motivational program that kicked off a series of community meetings this week, with more on the horizon.

That first meeting brought parents and students from Fesler Junior High and its feeder schools together to learn about the importance of pursuing a college education. It’s part of Pathway to Success, a program developed by the district and Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) coordinators.

At least three more sessions are scheduled, and parents can call their respective junior high school sites or the district office for more information, at 805-361-8140.

It is vitally important for children to have goals and be given direction that can help them have better lives. Showing kids how education will help them attain lofty goals is a pathway to success.

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Speaking of young people, roses to all those who sign up for beach lifeguard duty, a summer job that can and often does leave lasting memories.

Santa Barbara County’s Community Services Department Parks Division is seeking lifeguards for beaches and pools, and instructors for junior lifeguard training.

Beaches where lifeguards will be stationed include Jalama, Arroyo Burro and Goleta. County pools needing lifeguards include Cachuma Lake Campground and the Joseph Centeno Aquatics Complex in New Cuyama. The Hendry’s Junior Lifeguard Program takes place at Arroyo Burro Beach County Park.

Even entry-level young people with no lifeguard experience have starting pay of $15.50 an hour.

But be advised, personal responsibility is required. A lifeguard has to make life-and-death decisions, which is good training for young people seeking a career.

Potential candidates can submit an application online at www.sbparks.org/aquatics. For more information, contact Jon Menzies at 805-729-7508 or jmenzies@sbparks.org.

***

Local law enforcement and Santa Maria city officials have embarked on a program meant to make the city’s core more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly, a need underlined by a recent report that pedestrian fatalities nationwide have hit a three-decade high.

The federal government reports that 6,227 pedestrians were killed last year, and the last time that many were killed was 1990.

One of the problems identified by experts is the increase in popularity of SUVs, which are larger than regular passenger cars, and often more difficult to see out of. SUV-involved pedestrian fatalities increased 50 percent between 2013 and last year.

It’s not just bigger vehicles, though. Distracted driving is a major threat to pedestrian and cyclists’ safety, and because everyone and all their children seem to have cell phones, that risk factor is only going to increase.

We all know how to solve this kind of problem — don’t even attempt to use your cell phone while driving. Don’t use the driver’s seat in a moving vehicle as an office or lunch spot. Pay attention to the road and everyone else on it.

And raspberries to those who ignore that advice.

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