Pembroke Pines Targets Solutions for Youth Challenges
Various challenges, worries and issues like cyberbullying, suicide, depression, peer pressure, family stress and simply feeling out of place affect many children every day. This is why the City of Pembroke Pines made it its mission to address and find solutions for these critical issues through the creation of an award-winning series of forums called “Raising Positive Children.”
The idea came to fruition several years ago with the creation of an Education Roundtable that included Pembroke Pines school principals and city staff members. Vice Mayor Iris A. Siple and Principal Michael Castellano, Pembroke Pines Charter School-West Campus, led the Roundtable discussions and became aware of the many concerns, questions and struggles today's young people were facing.
The ongoing forums give parents, grandparents, guardians, educators and youth advocates the opportunity to learn more, become aware, and find solutions. For many of the forums, children were also invited to help them discover first-hand that they are not alone in what they are experiencing, and how best to cope or react to various troubling situations. Often they participated in panels and through skits they prepared to express their feeling and ideas.
In addition to the forum itself, various local organizations and agencies such as United Way, Broward 211 and the Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention are often on-site to talk, share resources and distribute helpful information. Members of the Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue and Police are often present to answer questions because as first responders they deal with the tragedies that result from the problems youth face. Each forum is unique, relevant and tries to look closely at or tackle different issues in different ways.
Invitations and forum announcements are sent through the Pembroke Pines schools, local churches, social media, and posted on the city’s website. Held at the Charles F. Dodge City Center located at 601 City Center Way, they are free and everyone is welcome to attend. Tickets are never required and light refreshment are typically served.