Investing in our youth

Investing in our youth is critical for a healthy community. There are negative out comes to not investing in our young people. Young people contribute to society, democracy and the economy. Without investment, the youth contribute to disease, crime and violence.

The youth today are trying to learn to navigate this world and are facing challenges in poverty, education and employment. Depression and mental health disorders are increasing. Social media is having a negative influence, peer pressure and drug abuse is on the rise and young people are facing uncertainty.

Many children are living in poverty. Poverty has negative impacts on children's health, social, emotional and cognitive development, behavior and educational outcomes. Children born into poverty are more likely to experience a wide range of health problems, including poor nutrition, chronic disease and mental health complications. This can extend into adulthood with low income, chronic disease, and shorter life span.

Covid 19 has interrupted education and employment opportunities. Pressure to preform and compete is becoming a struggle for young people. Academic standards have become increasingly higher and the pressure to have educational excellence and score high on exams has become a burden. Universities and housing costs have increased and so has the weight of higher education.

Covid 19 has caused an increase in depression among our young people. We are currently facing a mental health crisis. Mental health challenges are real in children, adolescents, and young adults. Untreated these problems interfere with learning, socialization and self-esteem. Suicide rates have increased significantly teens are reporting they feel sad and hopeless.

While social media can be fun, and a great place to connect to friends and family, it poses risks for young people. Kids are exposed to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and there are privacy issues. Young people have turned to social media during the pandemic and not reality. The rise of social media has been linked to increased violence and gang related activity.

Kids like to fit in and go along with the crowd. Peer pressure can reinforce good behavior it can also reinforce bad behavior. The risks for influencing alcohol/drug use, or being exposed to gang violence has increased with social media. Peer pressure is a force for good or bad and we must steer our youth towards positive habits and positive role models.

We are living in uncertain times. Uncertainty for the future is a major concern for the youth of today. The pandemic has exposed inequalities both socially and financially. Climate change is now a top concern for our young generation. Young people are taking action and they are the agents of positive change.

Investing in children is the smartest investment to make. Our children are our future. We must invest in healthier systems for our future. It is better to invest in preventative care then expensive social problems later. Investment must begin during early childhood development. During the early years lifelong behaviors and patterns are being developed. High quality programs promote positive development and leads to adults making positive contributions to society. When we invest in our children we are investing in our economy and our future and our community success.