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Youth panel seeks long-term solutions

PUHI — The Kaua‘i Planning and Action Alliance has created a forum for youth to shed light on the issues confronting them so community groups, businesses and government may work together to find appropriate long-term solutions.

Nine students from public and private high schools across the island will serve on a panel at the nonprofit’s annual meeting from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., today, at the Kaua‘i Community College cafeteria in Puhi.

KPAA President Diane Zachary said the idea for the program, “Voices of the Future: A Dialogue with Kaua‘i Students,” was sparked by meetings she attended where tomorrow’s leaders were seldom present.

“Are we giving them the tools and support they need? Are the classes, programs and activities offered in our community helping them prepare for the future they envision for themselves? What else may be needed?” she said. “The meeting gives these young people an opportunity to share their thoughts about the future, their role in it and how we as community members can support them to achieve their goals.”

KPAA Board of Directors Vice Chair Eric Knutzen said the panel will provide an opportunity to hear first-hand what the students’ dreams are and what they think about current issues challenging youth on Kaua’i.

“We all agree that the world is constantly changing with an ever-accelerating pace and translating the voices of our youth right now into our programming just makes sense,” he said. “Can you imagine trying to apply a program designed in the ‘50s that tries to protect youth from the perils of jitterbug dancing to today’s realities? Things change and our programs need to change in response.”

The meeting is open to KPAA members and the public.

“Ideas shared by our youth can help us see the world through their eyes and guide us as we make decisions that will have long-term impacts,” Zachary said. “We have the responsibility to create opportunities and ensure a quality of life on the island they and their children can enjoy.”

The meeting will also include an update on KPAA activities and a brief business meeting.

KPAA is a non-profit membership organization that serves as a neutral convener, providing a forum to the community to develop and implement effective solutions to issues that matter to Kaua‘i.

For more information, call 632-2005 or visit www.kauainetwork.org

• Nathan Eagle, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or neagle@kauaipubco.com

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