HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Youth Forum giving the young people a voice

Students from all over the island and a lucky 26 from the outer islands joined together to hold the first Youth Forum at the Youth with a Mission base in Vaimaanga on Tuesday.
The event started 8:30 am with kids pouring in to start the day with an ice breaker conducted by Cook Islands Cricket.
Thomas Wynne, acting Chair of the Youth Forum Steering Group, told the Herald that the Forum will only be the first stage of the project. “The forum is dedicated to understanding from the kids themselves as to why and how we can overcome what is happening in the youth community today.”
Though the Forum was created in light of several tragic suicides, Wynne said they are also looking at the students whole well being.
During the last few months, Wynne and his team had surveyed young people from the age of 12 years to 25 years to try and get a better understanding as to what made them tick and do things they shouldn’t normally be doing.
“We had a meeting and from the outcome of the surveys and other things, we decided that we would not be bringing in any Professional, expensive speaker to speak to the kids, but that we would have the kids speak to each other, because only they know what’s going on inside of them, so they make the best experts,” said Wynne.
Students have been having their say during the sessions, and their comments have been noted. Wynne said “The forum has been going very smoothly, we have the sessions, then we have the ice breakers so everyone can feel comfortable coming back in and sharing with everybody, because who better to tell us what’s going on than them.”
The forum is only a one day event, with plans to have it annually.
Wynne told the Herald “When the first stage is done we will be steering through the second stage where we will be setting up a hotline 0800 where kids who have no -one or no where else to turn and feel that they need help, can call. It will be a 24 hour hotline and calls will be free. Free to txt and free to ring.”
Wynne also told the Herald that the team is also looking to train teachers to spot the signs which may indicate a student may be considering suicide, so that it may be prevented.
Classes may also be set up for parents who are willing to learn more on the topic, so that they may be able to tell the signs and understand their children.
“The Forum is in response to what has happened within our community, it is us giving the youth a voice,” said Wynne.

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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