‘In Your Corner’ returns

Hale ‘Opio Kaua‘i and The Garden Island are pleased to announce the return of a weekly column dedicated to answering questions and helping the youth of Kaua‘i make good choices so that their needs are met in the most meaningful ways possible.

The column is dedicated to their positive growth and well being and written for the benefit of their parents, friends, caregivers, teachers — anyone who has a question to be answered or an important fact to be shared with Kaua‘i youth or their caregivers. It’s not necessary to give your name to get a question answered.

The column name “In Your Corner” is a boxing term that some may have heard in the recent movie “Real Steel.” During a match, a boxer is assigned a corner. His trainer, doctor, coach, family and backers are by his corner to support him in the fight. They’re “in his corner.”

It is important that the youth on Kaua‘i know that they have a vast support group that wants them to succeed, and be healthy and happy. It is well documented that when kids have a problem, they often think that they are the only ones with that problem and feel awkward talking about it. It is also well documented that when kids get the help they need, they wish they’d gotten it sooner.

Are you hearing that from friends? If you have a friend who seems troubled and worried, it will help a lot if you can get him or her to talk to someone who knows about the problems kids have. A school counselor might be a good start. Or you can write to me and I’ll find an answer for you or a starting place for you to get some help.

The previous focus of IYC was developed when I was the Teen Court manager and discovered that there was a need for youth to learn about our laws. They’d be detained for a curfew violation and never knew Kaua‘i had one!

 Just in case you don’t know, if you are under 17, the curfew for Kaua‘i County is 10 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday and midnight Friday and Saturday — unless you are with a responsible adult as determined by the Kaua‘i Police Department. So if Auntie has you out for a movie, it’s fine. If your boyfriend has you on the beach all alone under the moon, so sorry. Tell your friends. You can see that it is earlier on “school nights,” but it’s not related to that. Even during school vacations and holidays, the curfew stays the same.

IYC is expanding to offer information to youth and caregivers about services offered on Kaua‘i that can help them get their needs met, whether it’s dealing with alcoholics, death, bullying, harassment, various support groups or solving arguments peacefully. When I asked youth service leaders if they would join the IYC effort and be resources for kids’ questions when they came up, everyone who was asked enthusiastically agreed.

When LaVerne Bishop, CEO of Hale ‘Opio, asked the current youth service leaders if they would join IYC, the response was again a resounding yes. So we’re back!

We care about all the people on this island. The stronger and happier each person of any age is on this island, the stronger and happier we all are. Conversely, if someone is having difficulty, we all experience a little of that difficulty. So here is the “Corner” support team in alphabetical order:

Bill Arakaki: Kaua‘i Complex Area Superintendent of Schools

Annaleah Atkinson: “In Your Corner” columnist

LaVerne Bishop: CEO, Hale ‘Opio Kaua‘i

John Calma: Juvenile Public Defender

Shaylene Carvalho: County Prosecutor

Lucy Douthitt: DOH Child Welfare Services Section administrator

Russell Goo: Deputy Attorney General

Chia Granda: Clinical director, Kaua‘i Family Guidance Center

Renee Haines: Managing editor, The Garden Island

Madeleine Hiraga-Nuccio: Chief, Kaua‘i Family Guidance Center

Arlene Kuwamura: Manager of Teen Court

Darryl Perry: Chief of Police

Joseph A. Savino: Fifth Circuit Drug Court

Deborah Ullman: Educational specialist, Department of Education

Kari Yamashiro: Administrator, Fifth Circuit Court Juvenile Client and Family Services

Thanks to Claire Ueno, KPD child services, for the information on curfew.

This is a shout out to Kaua‘i youth and caregivers: Care enough about yourself to ask for help if you are stressed about anything, whether it relates to the body, mind, emotions or spirit.

We are lucky that in Kaua‘i children are a priority. There are many services to help us, but no one can be helped if no one knows there’s a problem. You can be anonymous.

Contact Annaleah at aatkinson@haleopio.org.

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