- Listed: October 14, 2011 10:39 am
– What makes a Youth ” at-risk ” ? ( continued from post ” This Body Is a Victory “)
When one can name oneself a survivor, it takes the ups and downs of a windy path and a few attitude adjustments, from sometimes having found oneself on top of the hill, then back down in the deep valleys of a life lived dangerously, with passion and fierce compassion, and a sensitive heart wore on one’s sleeve to finally:
See the cup half full instead of the cup half empty, ready soon to overflow…
I started to focus on my victories instead of my failures.
Instead of seeing my challenges as hindrances and excuses, I finally took full responsibility for my successes!
So I started naming them, with no shame for my journey, and a true love for the trail I walked as a survivor. It might defy the picture of the pretty french girl with a strong will many had of me. My wish is to inspire those who struggle with their past’s burden.
I victoriously survived being separated from my mother at age 5.
I victoriously healed the pain of witnessing sheer acts of violence against my mother, as a young child and of being the victim of physical and emotional violence myself as a teenager.
I victoriously left home at age 16, after being raised by a deeply wounded single dad, managed to finish school and to inspire my heroine addicted boyfriend to turn into a clean sweet loving partner while I completed college!
I victoriously recovered from date rape at 20, and victoriously found my way to be “reborn” in the United Statesafter landing in California with $300 in my pocket and 10 words of English in my vocabulary in 1986.
I complained – to myself- in the past that not only I had to learn from scratch to function within a society fundamentally different from the one I came from, but that I had to spend 20 years of my life healing from the severe dysfunctions of my upbringing, which I saw as a heavy weight in my striving for success.
But meantime, I successfully became a Somatic Therapist, and opened my first Healing Center in Marin County, California when I was 28, and was called an inspiration by my community and students numerous times after organizing multiple workshops and large- scale inspiring multi -media performances!
Back on Kauai
Jumping over a few years, I miraculously found my way back to Kauai in 2010 ( where I had lived before since 2001 ), after a year recovery from a broken pelvis ( I happen to be a passionate acrobatic Dancer and Yoga teacher as well as a Massage and Somatic Therapist ).
Still healing I happened to victoriously find a little place to start again, last year, and open a sweet little healing arts clinic, that I envisioned to be the root of a much larger plan, contributing to the Inter-Generational Sustainability of the island of Kauai…successfully…!
That very vision of Inter-Generational Sustainability, from the keikis to the kupunas in storing a system of support that is fun and empowering to all generations, is what guided me back to Kauai.
I started last year with the creation of a low-cost kupunas clinic for the elders offering healing touch and physical and emotional therapy.
My next target was the teens…
I discovered the Empowered Youth Initiative program offered by Off The Mat into the World in March of this year…
I had trained with OTM as a teacher of the Yoga in Action Program a couple years before – coaching Yoga teachers to become sustainable spiritual activists. Familiar with their curriculum due to a twenty year friendship and many collaborations with Suzanne Sterling, co-founder of OTM, priestess and performer, I had been waiting for their hands-on training with Youth at Risk to be presented on the West Coast…
“Yemaya’s on Fire”
“Yemaya’s on Fire” was my nickname after our first circle, in Santa Monica, with Sean Corn, Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling, the brilliant team of Off The Mat into the World.
Those 10 days were so deeply touching as we moved from Juvenile Halls to Jails, visiting Los Angeles-based organizations that are creating change and giving disadvantaged kids a chance to have a life worth living.
I came home to Kauai with a much clearer understanding of the situation and started designing a plan that would address the issues specific to our islands:
– Early teen pregnancy.
– Drug use.
– Gang formation.
– Overall lack of health and motivation.
So, what “makes “ a youth “ at -risk” ?
The main identified “at risk” conditions and circumstances leading to self-abusive behaviors, to violent and drug related choices, to gang forming and joining and turning away from any chances to participate in education and societal expectations are:
Poverty, substance abuse or violence in the family, single parent family unit, cultural disconnection from the culture’s roots and cultural minority issues.
In the case of our beautiful island as with the native american, black american, and latino communities on the mainland, we can see how the cultural disconnection from the culture’s roots can lead to a lack of clear self-identity in the new generation.
cyclic cocktail of circumstances
Similarly, a single parent family might lead to an imbalanced identity if the child is mostly exposed to only one gender role model. Add to this a lack of maturity in the single parent – as we see more and more children raising children – and the over stressing factor of poverty and lack of support. This creates a overwhelming cyclic cocktail of circumstances truly challenging to overcome.
An awareness of the basic need to “belong” inherent to all humans and overly sensitive in a growing teen, will help understand the grouping into Gangs, extreme tattooing and piercing and the creation of new rites of passages (such as committing a crime or journeying into narcotics land) to replace the missing pieces of a society replacing roots with technology.
What we see here on Kauai is a sad lack of outlet for creative expression, which contribute to the constant growing number of increasingly young drug users.
Most of us can relate to the adolescent desire to change the world, to create a reality which match the passion of a young heart for justice, beauty, oneness. If it was inherently challenging a few decades ago, it is easy to understand some of the powerlessness experienced by some of our youth in the climate of today’s society and Earth’s changes.
Healthy foundation for the future
Can this be remedied…? Can that spark of innocent fiery power be nurtured into a healthy pro-active foundation in those who embody the future?
Can a group of dedicated and inspired youth advocates, visionaries, teachers, counselors, sustainability mentors and holistic entrepreneurs make a real change at this time?
Can we offer an integral, sound and coherent network of holistic programs and mentorships sufficiently funded to create long lasting change to the issue at hand?
I strongly believe so…
I believe that our kids can overcome the challenges of today, and see their cups more than half full.
I believe that with our awakened minds and collaborating hearts we not only can, but must put our time and visions to work toward the manifestation grounds of Kauai’s Empowered Youth.
I shared a bit of my story and made myself transparent with you earlier, as I have experienced the depth and power that comes from witnessing each others vulnerabilities turned into strengths.
I will now share what K.E.Y is about.
Our Missionis to Inspire and Mentor Kauai’s Youth by creating a Holistic Youth Centerand satellite programs.
Our Vision is to give Kauai’s Youth the tools to become the evolved leaders of tomorrow, to practice deep ecology and sustainability in all relationships – with self, others, and the world.
Our programs can be divided in three categories:
Sustainability in Community, Holistic Health Practices and Spiritual disciplines, and Creative Expression.
In a few words Kauai Empowered Youth aims to provide teens with:
-Exposure to sustainability in collaboration with Kauai’s green businesses connecting the Youth with the cycles of Life (organic farming and gardening, seed to table programs, appropriate technology ) and inspiring career options.
-Promote the importance of proper nutrition, self-discipline, and physical health.
-Re-instore healthy rites of passage and develop interest in the Sacred.
-Model respect and self-respect.
-Re-instore trust through reliable long term mentorship.
-Create regular outlets for creative expression promoting emotional literacy and self-empowerment.
Exciting? …and that’s a quick overview…!
If you feel called to participate in some ways here are our immediate need:
Kickstart fundings: in order to be ready to access large grants and donations from foundations and philanthropist, KEY is looking for its kickstart fundings to create our website and promotional material.
Donations over $300 will receive receipts from our Kauai-based Non-Profit supporting organization INCF ( www.incfworld.org ).
Connections, pointers, time donations are also welcomed.
Once our internet and promotional presence is completed the annual budget fundraising process can really start.
We are aiming at presenting our first week long program during Spring break 2012.
I personally welcome support with the fundraising and grant-writing process, in addition to the resources that I have researched and connected with.
Our team of teachers and youth advocates has still room to grow. We welcome your interest.
In peace, integration and constant evolution,
Yemaya Renuka Duby is an experienced Rosen Method Practitioner, Licensed Massage Therapist, Yoga teacher in the lineage of Baba Hari Dass, Yoga in Action trainer ( OTM trained ), a Sacred Dancer, Storyteller and Performance Arts Director.
Since returning to Kauai, Yemaya has healed herself from a broken sacrum injury, opened SACRED WATERS HEALING ARTS,“ the tiniest healing center in the whole wide world with the biggest visions “ promoting the Healing Arts and the Inter-Generational Sustainability Movement, and launched K.E.Y., KAUAI EMPOWERED YOUTH, an organisation offering holistic trainings to the teen population, and at-risk youth on Kauai.
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