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  • By Aline Yamashita

Back to the Future

2017. Holy smokes in the morning! I remember when writing 2000 was huge. Now, peeking over our shoulders is 2020.

Our future this past year was hit by major earthquakes. From the church to the school system, the unquestionable were questioned. Then, at 155 Hessler Street, many very good policy makers were thanked for their service as they exited.

As well, it seems those who may have had influence once upon a time, no longer do.

Back to the future.

There was great concern about the availability and presence of first responders. It’s clear, new cars are roving. And, it’s clear as cohorts are full; many of our residents are motivated to become police officers. That happens when solid programs are offered and supported. That happens when it’s clear that job opportunities that are prioritized and sustained.

There was seemingly relief about load shedding not too long ago. Then, a fire put Cabras 4 and Cabras 3 to rest. The island reverted to one hour, two hour, three hour outages. We thank private companies for using their generators to remove themselves from the island grid. Reasons for the explosion have not been shared – if they have even been determined. Maintenance for our power stations must always be a priority. Many of us celebrated prematurely the joy of reliable power.

There are issues that were identified years ago but still hover. The flooding in Tumon screams for someone to hand out a plan – prevention and intervention – and before someone gets hurt.

Our drug issue remains bad. Read what recovered addicts share. The need to be connected and the need to feel in control can motivate bad decisions. While not sexy, high quality early childhood education is a smart solution to helping families with parenting. Especially today, with frayed segments of our community all around, parents need help in sorting out developmentally appropriate practices.

All work force development experts, economists, military leaders, human development think tanks agree that solid investment in the first 8 years will strengthen confidence and character and weed out toxic stress and emotional challenges. For every dollar invested in early childhood education, $5-$8 are gained in less prisoners, greater high school graduation rates, less teen pregnancy, and greater job success.

Years ago, we identified the abuse rate of our children as a serious issue. We also came to grips with the fact that we are abusing our manamko. Who would have ever thought that would be our problem? But it is. The abuse rates steadily increase as we neglect, emotionally abuse, or financially harm those, whom gave birth to us,

Back to the future. Yes, progress has been made in some areas but we know that much work is needed in others. As 2020 tip toes in, let’s include all of the human capital issues in our vision to get Guam the jewel of a community that it can be. Let’s ask all those running in 2018, if they will prioritize early childhood education. Let’s listen to see if they get it.

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