On Saturday, October 12, 2019 more than 150 people attended the first Voices of Ewa-Kapolei Community Planning Summit at the Kroc Center. The event was focused on identifying and developing priorities to address the needs of families and youth in grades six through nine. Participants included parents, representatives from area schools, community residents, service providers, and youth.
All participants expressed positive feelings about the community in which they live. Most noted by both adults and youth is the sense of pride for their community. This includes an appreciation for the people that live here and the connection to the area. As the community continues to grow, there is an appreciation for the “small town” feel and the peacefulness this brings. As noted by the youth, “It’s home”.
There is a deep appreciation for the history of the community, its stories and cultural sites, as well as historical connections some families have to Ewa-Kapolei and the opportunity for more recent residents to be close to their `ohana.
Issues Affecting Youth
When asked about what they felt were concerns for youth in grades six through nine, the differences in perspective emerged.
The adult group identified the lack of resources and the lack of information for parents about what is available. Adults expressed concerns that there are not enough activities and services for this age group and inadequate facilities and spaces for them. The lack of transportation options hinders participation in after-school and community-based programs.
“The discussion in the youth group provided different insight.”
Youth saw issues of substance abuse as the most important issue. This includes the increase in vaping and the use of drugs and alcohol consumption by young people in private settings.
Relationship issues were also highlighted. These included relationship issues traditional to and within the age group such as peer pressure, drama, and anxiety. More severe impacts include bullying, violence, and depression. The use of social media in this mix was also noted. Relationship issues within the family and with adults were also mentioned. This includes pressure from and the expectations of adults. Some youth stated that they don’t feel appreciated by the adults in their lives.
• Provide a clear communication outlet to connect and inform the community on up-dates and information on services, activities, and opportunities for youth and families within the community
• Encourage partnerships and collaborations among organizations in the region to create more activities available to the youth
• Create safe places for the youth within the neighborhood that offer recreational and cultural activities
• Coordinate safe transportation for the youth to get around safely
• Programs that teach the youth on ways to improve personal behavior, learn life skills, and balance emotions. These programs need to focus on building positive relationships among the youth and creating a supportive culture.