Spring is the season of new beginnings, a fresh start, time to uncurl from the longer darker nights, (okay, so maybe 2.5 hours longer, max) but you get my point. Spring is finally here! On Maui we know this time for the beautiful purple jacarandas that burst into bloom Upcountry, all the community festivals (see page, 4, 16, 30 and 31), Easter Egg Hunts (see page 11) and Prevent Child Abuse Month. Sadly in 2018 Maui County confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect was 192 too many. That same year we had 336 children in foster care with almost half under five years old. The first five years are considered the most important (see page 21) and the attachments we form with our children are crucial. We are our children’s first teachers (see page 23) here to support them and give them comfort (see page 4), but we need support too. Thankfully there are great resources available to us all (see pages 5, 20 and 25).
One proven way to prevent abuse and neglect is to engage parents and communities in building the Five Protective Factors. The Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Strengthening Families points to five characteristics that increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for children and their families:
1. Parental Resilience: Managing stress and functioning well when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma.
2. Social Connections: Positive relationships that provide emotional, informational, instrumental and spiritual support.
3. Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: Understanding child development and parenting strategies for healthy child development.
4. Concrete Support in Times of Need: Access to support and services that address a family’s needs.
5. Social and Emotional Competence of Children: Family and child interactions that support children’s ability to communicate, regulate emotions, and have loving relationships.
It is The Mauimama’s mission to try and strengthen and support these areas, with issue #61 being no exception.
Our planet also needs support. In spring we celebrate Earth Day. There are many things we can do to care for our islands, banning single-use plastic is a good step (see page 6) or joining a community cleanup (see page 7 and 21). I dedicate this issue to the legendary Jan Dapitan (see page 7) who gave more back to the islands than we will ever know. If we can be as half as proactive and amazing as she was in the stewardship of this land and water, Maui is in good hands.
Caring for ourselves, our families, our community, and our environment are all weaved together. By doing it collectively we are so much stronger and will have a resilient community that thrives! Happy Spring!
Image Credit: Modern Market