Our youth need our help. They need our time, our talents, our creativity, our attention, our resources.
Let’s give it to them.
The Kauai Resilience Project is leading the way to curb suicide among young people. Last year, one in 11 Kauai teens attempted suicide. That is and should be an alarming number.
KRP has come up with a plan, but its success depends largely on adults making sacrifices and stepping up when they are needed, and they are needed now.
There are factors that build resilience in children and resilience is key in curbing suicide. Some of these 40 factors include extracurricular activities, youth empowerment and setting boundaries.
“Adult support, whether from family, a teacher, a neighbor, etc., is one of the most critical factors to help young people grow into healthy, caring and responsible individuals,” according to Keiki to Career Kauai, which helped create KRP.
KRP has launched an education campaign to raise awareness of these resilience factors targeted to both adults and youth.
“We want to share the message that Kauai’s kids are all our kids, and every one of us can contribute to this effort,” said Marion Paul, president of Kauai Planning and Action Alliance.
That’s something we can all support.
In case you’re not convinced we should be concerned about teens and need to have an action plan to do anything, consider a few of these findings in the 2018 Kauai Youth Report put together by Kauai to Career Kauai:
• 28 percent of high school reported feeling sad and worthless for at least two weeks at a time in 2017. Yes, most people go through ups and downs, but when more than a quarter of our teens say they feel worthless, that’s not something we should easily dismiss.
• Students who report that they like coming to school has decreased from 70 percent to 50 percent in the last four years.
• Proficiency tests given at the end of eighth grade reveal that our students have been losing ground in math and science.
• Youth that are overweight or obese continues to rise, from 24 percent in 2014 to 30 percent today. Currently, more than one half of our youth do not meet the recommended levels of physical activity.
• Screen Time tracks the percentage of students who spend more than five hours per weekday on their “screens” (TV, video games, texting, etc.). The current rate on Kauai is 33.5 percent. That’s too much.
• More than 5,200 of Kauai’s 10,500 students in public and charter schools are considered Title 1 students who come from low-income homes, where basic necessities such as shelter, healthcare and even food are often challenging to obtain. Title 1 students face additional challenges to learning due to poor sleep, untreated medical conditions, hunger and the general heightened insecurity posed by the lack of basic sources.
• One of every four Kauai high school students reports having been bullied, either physically, verbally or electronically. Bullying is a risk factor for youth suicide and it is something that goes on far too often.
• One of four Kauai high school students is at increased risk for drug or alcohol abuse.
• One third of Kauai high school students have had sexual intercourse. This is higher than stateside, but lower than national averages. Even in middle school, one in 14 Kauai students have had sexual intercourse.
• Over the last five years, Kauai averaged 10 births per year to young women age 14 to 17. This is a birth rate of six per 1,000.
The statistics are alarming. Yes, you could argue, this is pretty much the story nationwide, pretty much the norm, so what’s the big fuss?
Just this. It doesn’t have to be like this. Each of these areas of concern could be improved if adults could commit to being part of the solution. And it’s easier than you might think.
That’s why we urge people to be part of this project. To find out how, visit www.kauaiskidsareyourkids.com