THE CURRENT CRISIS
Globalization, social injustice, environmental degradation, and the global economic crisis are challenges facing all of us. Most young people and families are able to flourish in this fast-changing era. However, for some, a better world is a far-off dream and life can be especially difficult. A number of them get left behind.
Consider these points:
Over the past decade, social, behavioral and environmental factors have become the major sources of illness and death among young people worldwide.
Globally, 75 million children are out-of-school. In New Zealand, at any one time, a sizeable group – between 10 and 15% of young people – are not participating in education, employment or training. The ‘baby blip’ means many young people will leave school in the future at risk of inactivity.
Boys have their own specific struggles, and many live behind a mask of confusing identity and behavior.
Sweeping through society is an unwritten and unrelenting way of thinking about boys and men that normalizes anger and aggressive behavior, and undervalues qualities such as empathy and the ability to express emotions..
In New Zealand, the significant disparity between boys’ and girls’ educational achievement leaves young men falling behind, creating the potential for serious social cost.
Young men are at more risk of harming themselves or others. They are over-represented among those who commit suicide; have high rates of alcohol-related harm; are more at risk of dying on the roads than any other group; and are suspended and expelled from school at much higher rates than girls. More boys than girls leave school with no qualifications at all. They are arrested, charged and convicted of crimes far more frequently than young women.
More boys drop out of school than girls; more boys than girls are prescribed mood-managing drugs; boys don’t read as well as girls; and prisons are packed with boys and men.
Research shows in times of stress or trauma, boys are more likely to respond to stress with aggression (either against others or themselves), to use physical exertion or recreation strategies, and to deny or ignore problems. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is a great need to understand and address how gender socialization influences boys to partake in the perpetration of violence.Emotional stress negatively affects learning performance. Sustained stress and negative emotions result in a misalignment of the brain and nervous system activity, which inhibits attention, memory recall, abstract reasoning, problem solving, and creativity.
Now, more than ever, the world needs young men and who are capable and resilient enough to lead us through the complexities of the future. In New Zealand, the need is just as great.
Like you, we envision a better world:
- Healthy and happy young people reaching their full potential
- Strong, harmonious and resilient families
- Safe, thriving communities in which to live and work
- A healthy society and a planet in balance
How can we help young people develop the social and emotional wisdom needed during these times of change?
How can we support parents and caregivers as ‘first teachers’ for our youth?
We believe the best approach is diverse, whole-person and integrated. If we believe young people are ‘at promise’ rather than ‘at risk’, our task is to help them find and build on the strengths in themselves. This can happen through caring relationships, high expectations, advances in education, and opportunities for meaningful participation in daily life.
Winder Foundation programs affirm young people – to be the best they can be, building strength, health and harmony, and thus helping shape a better world.
Will you help us in our mission? DONATE NOW.
WHY THE NEED IS URGENT
Here are some of the struggles for our youth, particularly young men in New Zealand, and why the need is urgent to help our boys develop social wisdom, emotional resilience and educational success.
- Nearly a third of all children in New Zealand grow up in fatherless homes. (Statistics NZ 2001)
- There are 20 confirmed cases of child abuse and/or neglect in New Zealand every day. (The 2005 Social Report, Ministry of Social Development)
- About 80% of violence in New Zealand is family based. (ASB Community Trust 2008)
- In 2000, 98 New Zealanders aged between 15 and 24 died from suicide – 81 of them were male. Of these young men, 31 were aged 15-19 and 50 were 20-24. (Barwick 2004)
- Boys are more likely than girls to experience attention problems, which affects school success and has a knock-on effect on employment and future education prospects. (McLaren 2003)
- Of 4158 young people aged 14 to 17 brought before the courts in 2001, 82% were male. Of all offences resulting in a conviction in 2001, over a third were committed by males aged 14 to 24, despite males in this age group making up less than 7% of the population that year. (Spier 2002; Statistics NZ 2002)
- New Zealand is conservatively spending $5.7 billion a year as a direct consequence of family breakdown, or close to 4.4% of GNP - $3000 for every taxpayer. (McNeil 2003: 34-40)
- A comparative study conducted by the ministry of Social Development of 13 OECD countries states that between 2002 and 2005 New Zealand had the second highest male youth (15-24) suicide rate and the third highest female suicide rate
- Boys make up 73% of students with behavioral problems. (Praat 1999)
- There were 58,761 acts of violence recorded in New Zealand between 2007 and 2008, 3522 cases of sexual assault, and 58,895 cases of drug abuse and antisocial behavior.
- One in seven teachers and support staff have reported being physically assaulted by students. (NZEI Media Release, September 30, 2008)
- More than 13,000 New Zealanders are receiving a benefit, and the latest Household Labour Force Survey found there were 8400 16-17 year olds not in any form of work, education or training. (Statistics NZ 2008)
- A study of children who witnessed adult violence at home reported that the effect was slightly more distressing than the direct experience of being punched, kicked, beaten or hit by adults. The harm was often considerable and lasting. (Lievore and Mayhew 2008:8)