Chloe Waipa is only 11 years old, but she is already a hero.
The Lihue youth recently received Youth Service America’s “Everyday Young Hero” for raising awareness on dementia and encouraging everyone to become a “Dementia Friend.”
“So many of us either know or have possibly encountered folks with dementia — and it is very likely that my generation will be increasingly affected by dementia through our kupuna,” she said. “Because of that, everyone including kids my age need to be educated on the topic so we are not afraid to talk about the challenges that come with dementia.”
Waipa said her goal is to create a dementia-friendly generation on Kauai because she wants people with dementia to be understood and supported by people of all ages.
Her work as a Dementia Friends Champion is having an impact on her Kauai community as she offers training sessions that provide information about the disease and what can be done to help.
“Everyone should understand how to be of help in order to make a positive difference to people living with this disease,” she said.
The Everyday Young Hero award recognizes young people engaged in serving their communities and acting as a role model to other potential change makers.
Steven A. Culbertson, YSA president, said young people are uniquely suited to help solve problems — if given the opportunity.
“Today’s social and environmental problems are immense,” he said. “We need youth in this country to be leaders and problem solvers today, not just the leaders of a distant tomorrow.”