I'M A YOUNG urban professional who lives in the arguably worst neighborhood in the nation. At 34, I have become cynical about the state of our city's social climate.

Born and raised here, I am intimately familiar with the streets, but I've since become an Air Force honor graduate and alum of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

The Air Force reinforced the sense of integrity instilled in me by my father, brothers and grandfather. Not many of the young people in this city have had such an impressive pool of male resources to depend on for good information and structure.

Just as I had reached my limit and began the process of relocating to a place where my son can grow up in an environment that's safe and has property taxes that rival my current mortgage, a glimmer of hope emerged from the most unlikely of places. A young man who appeared to be in his mid-20s called to tell me that he wanted to return my lost attache case that contained my birth certificate, passport, checks and bank statements.

The exceptional thing about this young man, who was recently released from our illustrious prison system, was what he wanted in return.

He simply stated that if opportunities presented themselves, he'd appreciate it if I could help him get a job.

Here is an individual who is telling all of us "I don't want to be your problem, I want to be among you." Here is an opportunity to do what a million new cops can't. E-mail me at

jlanchorage@aol.com if you want to help.

Jamarca Lilley

Philadelphia

'Know-Nothing' logic

Carol Towarnicky's recent op-ed on the religious affiliation of certain Supreme Court justices takes the Daily News' anti-Catholic agenda to a new low.

Ms. Towarnicky feels charges of being likened to the "Know-Nothings" of 150 years ago are "ludicrous" and therefore not applicable to her.

Ms. Towarnicky writes the Know-Nothings "believed that Catholics were a danger to American values because their first allegiance was to the pope in Rome" as if she disavows this belief but then states "the justices used nonsensical reasoning that also upheld their church's teaching."

Her reasoning that the only Catholic suitable for the Supreme Court is one who actually rejects Catholicism is the only thing that's nonsensical.

Joe Malone, Bristol Borough