Humanities Guåhan is proud to present our latest project, Taking Root: Growing Youth Empowerment for Island Sustainability, a youth initiative for Guam public middle school students who trace their heritage to Guam, the CNMI, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands. This project engages students in the environments and cultures of Guam and Micronesia through exploratory hikes and fieldtrips; workshops in creative writing, art, and photography; cultural programs and exchange; Pacific focused conservations, activities and lessons; and workshops and mentoring on youth-led community action.
The project seeks to empower youth to identify the critical roles they play in sustainable development, cultural and environmental preservation and community building in Micronesia. To do this, the Taking Root initiative will encourage diverse islander youth to share knowledge and work collaboratively and creatively to identify challenges and solve problems around cultural and environmental change through physical activity, civic engagement, and greater cultural and ecological awareness. Humanities Guåhan is collaborating with a team of scientists, environmentalists, humanists, educators, and traditional experts to develop a rigorous educational program focusing on natural and cultural resources, climate change, capacity building and life-skills development, as well as meaningful cross-cultural exchange.
After engaging in a three-week curriculum that will include classroom instruction, cultural workshops, hikes and farm visits, film and discussion events, and clean up and restoration activities, the participants will be able to map and identify needs within the community and establish goals and an action plan for their own youth-led community project to address local challenges around the global crisis of climate change. These findings will be used to develop, produce, promote, and facilitate Guam’s first Youth Sustainability Conference. The Conference will provide an opportunity for the Taking Root participants to share their experiences and community action plan with their peers, while also allowing for a larger audience to engage with the different partners and components of the project. Participating youth will be inspired to create and then engage in practical solutions to the challenges Guam and the rest of Micronesia face in relation to their social, cultural and physical environments. Their engagement with the values, ideas and actions that are central to a participatory democracy is necessary for a sustainable future for our island and region.
To make this project possible, Humanities Guåhan received critical grant support from the U.S. Department of the Interior, and established important partnerships with the Guam Department of Education, Guam Community College Reach for College Hagu’i Kuleho Program, the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability, George Washington High School Marine Mania, NOAA Coral Reef Monitoring Program, Asahi Abai Palau community, as well as with indigenous Chamorro and Micronesian scholars, cultural experts and community leaders. We also received invaluable corporate sponsorships from Hertz Guam/Triple J Enterprises and PCR Environmental, Inc.