‘Connect 5’ is just the beginning

Lazy. Spoiled. Self-absorbed.

Those are a few of the words often tossed about to describe today’s generation of youth. They’re said to be only interested in their immediate bubble -that includes a cellphone, iPad and the myriad social sites online where they keep up with the activities, comments and plans of friends and enemies. Ask them what’s going on in the Middle East, Africa or Europe, and they’ll likely not have a clue, but seem surprised you’re even asking, like it’s any of their concern, anyway, and what do you expect them to do about it?

Just when you think you’ve got these kids pegged, that they’re up to no good and we better hold on for a bumpy ride because they’ll be running this show soon enough, they prove you wrong and spirits rise.

Connect 5 is just such a group.

Zeke Gamby, Jackson, Gamby, Pierce Bivens and Brianna Ryan are the board of directors behind Connect 5 whose mission statement goes like this: “Making Things Happen.”

And it’s not just anything. Good things. Positive things. Life-changing things. And it’s not just their world. But the world around them. Even places in this world they’ve never been. They recognize that there are so many out there who have so little, and they plan to do something about it. They want a world that cares about poverty, about the ocean, about illness, about education and about housing. Awareness of others’ problems is the first step toward solutions.

“If more people knew, more people would care,” Bivens said.

These kids are determined to make the world a better place. Pretty lofty goal. Outrageous, even. Imagine the audacity of kids who actually believe they can change this world. We say, go for it. How about we encourage them? Who are we to doubt? If the children can lead us to a better world, so be it. Let’s root for them. Let’s join them. It’s so easy to think we don’t matter, that we can’t make a difference. The negative news that abounds these days sometimes overwhelms us and leaves us with a sense of hopelessness. Connect 5 gives us hope. It gives us confidence.

And it isn’t just a whim for these kids. They’ve long been planning it. And today, you have a chance to hear from them and meet them during an inaugural Connect 5 event from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Lihue Public Library. Anyone who wants to attend should RSVP to info@leadershipkauai.org

We believe that once you meet the youth behind Connect 5 you’ll be just as impressed as we are. It won’t be long before the words we’ll be using when talking about our youth are compassionate, caring and motivated to create change for the better. In fact, those are words we should be using today. The world may never be the same — and that’s a good thing.

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