Teach our children well

April is National Child Abuse, Sexual Violence, and Alcohol Use Awareness Month, and the ALU LIKE, Inc. Hoala Hou Department is encouraging the community of Kauai to raise awareness of the risk factors and consequences of alcohol use, specifically underage drinking. Tragic health, social, economic problems result from the use of alcohol by youth. Underage drinking is a consistent factor in the many serious problems that our community faces today.

Our youth glorify alcohol, illegal drugs, and crime. Violence and foul language permeate public spaces. Last year, a study showed that 30 percent of Kauai youth have been under or around the influence of alcohol.

Living in Kauai, we often disregard of our surroundings. Overcome by the demands of our everyday lives, we forget to appreciate this place we call home. Not only are we blessed with lush green lands and vast blue oceans, we are also blessed with one thing that other places aren’t privileged to have: the “spirit of aloha.” Within the concept of aloha is the idea that our community is one big ohana, and we must teach our youth about the importance of aloha and ‘ohana. It is our responsibility, our kuleana, to teach them the significance of love, care, help, and appreciation for one another.

As ohana, it is our kuleana to educate the next generation to abstain from alcohol use until they are 21 years of age and are able to make their own responsible decisions. Whether it is at a party, community activity, sporting event, or a quiet night at home, we, the community, must lead by example and show our children the benefits of living in and growing up in a safe and healthy community.

Now is the time for us to take action as a community, to be the role models for our children and raise awareness of underage drinking. “Malama i Na Opio, Let’s take care of our Children.”

If you have any questions or are interested in more information about our Youth Prevention through Culture program, feel free to contact us at our ALU LIKE, Inc. Hoala Hou Department, Kauai site at (808) 245-8545.

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Kahealani Hamakua is a program specialist, Kauai Site.

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