LIHUE — Kids throw a lot of hints about what they want for the holidays, but what if you could give them something to help them reach their dreams in life?
Carolyn Price, a 15-year-old Island School freshman, wants parents to consider enrolling their kids in activities that will enrich their learning and feed their passion for learning and life as a holiday gift. This “changing the paradigm” approach is to get kids to visualize a future of possibilities.
“Kids of all ages want more than anything to feel special and to stand out and get positive public recognition by their friends and family,” Price said. “They desire acknowledgement, to be at the center of attention or to win a trophy, earn medals and receive achievement awards.”
Price said she is an example of how people and programs help build confidence, direction and opportunity. During the economic collapse, she watched her father’s contracting business falter and the family found itself living in temporary conditions.
To get through, Price concentrated on her studies and never thought about being homeless by keeping busy with activities. Today, she is a champion athlete and scholar who believes the support of her coaches and teammates made the difference.
Now, Price wants to give back and is starting, “LivinSOLID,” a youth initiative to get parents and community to focus on enrichment activities as gifts that keep on giving. All children have the spark to succeed — it just needs to be nurtured, she said.
“A child’s dream is a terrible thing to lose and we need to do what we can to give them the motivation and the desire to invest that energy and talent to excel into a bright future,” she said.
The inspiration for LivinSOLID came to Price while on a 450-mile group bike tour across the Iowa. The bicyclists had stickers that read “SOLID” to reflect their dedication to riding.
“It was a short and sweet message that got across the ideals they were living and how it ties in with lifestyle, commitment, dedication and focus,” Price said. “All that is very important and in the bike ride brought such inspiration as we toured the old wood bridges across Iowa.”
Price wants to match children of parents without the means to financial support activities with sponsors, and mentors for kids who just need someone to help them realize their talents. Children of affluent families must also think about the attention, acknowledgment and the value of working toward a goal, she said. They also need to develop the same positive habits.
“The universal thing is about what kids really need,” she said.
By the time a student is in middle school, they should have self esteem and positive habits because they will be associating with the kids and groups they will likely stick with throughout high school, Price said. These habits are developed from things as simple as walking a dog and practicing musical instruments to participating in organized activities such as 4H, canoe club or Mock Trial. It will help develop structure, discipline and time management.
The instructors, coaches or overseers give encouragement, Price said.
The results may not be noticeable right away but that motivation is what keeps them going and eventually impacts every area of their lives.
Price designed the second phase of the program to involve electives as a way to develop social leadership and skills building.
The five primary goals are to start a youth newspaper, a middle school leadership development and movie night, a youth program directory and activity calendar and an “activity angels” network of support.
Price plans to have guest speakers, seminars and icebreaking activities. A mentoring component would match kids with businesses, schools and organizations.
So whether it’s paddling and hula, cheerleader or sea cadets, or taiko drumming, all youth have interests and if they don’t pursue them, disappointment will open the door to negative behaviors and limit their potential, Price said.
“We all have our goals and levels, and those little milestones help us to accomplish more each day,” Price said.