Friday, May 13, 2011

Youth Issues

What are the issues NC youth face and are concerned with? Over 80 youth and adults from 74 counties attended the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) Youth Summit - Youth Voice 2010, which was held in Greenville, North Carolina last year. Prior to the summit, they polled their community and identified issues. The group narrowed the top 10 issues from over 60 compiled issues.

1. Teen pregnancy -Prevention, sex education and related health issues.
2. Substance abuse - This includes illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs.
3. Dropouts - North Carolina’s drop-out rate is at one-third; more dropout prevention programs are needed.
4. Violence -This includes bullying, gangs, crime and physical harm. Education is needed on safety issues, recognizing that “unsafe” actions impact others, such as friends and family.
5. Recreation -This includes community activities, intramural sports, funding for youth centers and other facilities and safe places, and unstructured activities.
6. Socio-economics -Adults and teens need jobs; unemployment is getting worse. Poverty and hunger are problems, especially in small counties with low economic ratings; family income is below average. Other issues are identity theft, and family money management; many grandparents with low incomes are raising grandchildren.
7. Education issues/school funding -Schools need money to provide more classes and extracurricular activities. Young people need to prepare for and find money to help pay for college. Youths want to think their needs are recognized, and they want more opportunities at school.
8. Lack of youth voice in community -Youths need to have their voices included in political decisions. Youths can take the initiative with governmental officials to have opportunities to express their opinions.
9. Health issues -Obesity, healthy lifestyles education, healthy food in school cafeterias, and chronic disease reduction are important to young people.
10. Lack of things to do -More safe and effective activities for youth to participate in. Partnerships between youth development programs, with constructive and positive activities.

Youth will gather again in 2011 to discuss solutions to the issues. One Watauga County youth is eligible to attend. Click here for more details.

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