Honolulu—R.E.A.C.H. can positively impact Native Hawaiian students in intermediate/middle school and lead them to successful educational outcomes, said Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui at the 12th Annual Native Hawaiian Convention.
R.E.A.C.H., which is spearheaded by Lt. Governor Tsutsui, is an after-school initiative designed to provide academic enrichment, athletics, and arts and culture to intermediate/middle school students throughout our state. R.E.A.C.H.’s mission is to assure that public middle and intermediate school students are provided with an opportunity to participate in after-school programs; engaging them in a broad-base of programs and activities in the areas of academics, athletics and the arts, so they can stay on track toward high school graduation and be better prepared for a successful future.
Studies have shown that the hours between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. are a critical time in the lives of a teen. Crimes committed by or against juveniles mainly occur on school days between 3 and 7 p.m.
Native Hawaiian youth arrests are the highest of all ethnic groups for Index Offenses, at 36.1 %. These offenses include robbery, theft, and burglary. Additionally, 15% of Native Hawaiian 8th graders reported being suspended from school, 13% of them reported attacking someone with the intention to harm, and 8% reported selling illegal drugs.
However, with after-school programs that provide hands on, fun and an engaging environment, middle/intermediate school students will be encouraged to remain engaged and interested in academics. “For some of our at-risk keiki who are in danger of dropping out of school, falling too far behind academically, or falling under the influence of substance abuse or poor influences, access to such programs is absolutely necessary to positively affecting their lives,” he said.
Twenty-eight percent of intermediate/middle school students are of Native Hawaiian descent, a little more than one-fourth of the middle and intermediate school student population. “This means that Native Hawaiians comprise the largest ethnic group of students throughout the entire state the largest group, which also means that they are being largely underserved by the absence of access to after-school programs,” the Lieutenant Governor told the crowd.
Because the number of Native Hawaiian students is so large, this means that more than ten-thousand Native Hawaiian students stand to benefit from the programs to be provided by R.E.A.C.H., which will also endeavor to perpetuate the culture and values of the Hawaiian community.