CCH and DECH is once again bringing in a national speaker for Washington County students.  Last Fall, area high school students attended the presentations. This time 6th, 7th and 8th grade students are being invited to share in this experience.  Four presentations will take place May 20-21 for DECH area students, and three presentations will be held May 22-23 for the CCH area students.  All area schools with 6th, 7th or 8th grade students have been invited and we hope they seize this invaluable opportunity to reach our teens.

Assisting us in bringing this opportunity to our area’s youth are Platinum Sponsors Down East Credit Union and Bar Harbor Bank & Trust as well as Gold Sponsors First National Bank and Machias Savings Bank.  The support of these area businesses will assist DECH and CCH in their efforts to continue to host these events.

How this came about – In developing long range Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) plans for 2023-2025, Calais and Down East Community Hospitals set a goal of reaching out to the youth of our communities about some of the tough topics that are prevalent in our area – mental health, substance abuse, suicide, etc.  While we really wish our children were not aware of these issues, we know they see it, some live it, many experience it every day.  Our plan is to support organizations that are already working with youth on these issues, as well as looking at new avenues to reach our youngest community members.  One of the projects we decided to take on was to bring a youth speaker to the area to provide a message of hope, be candid on these tough topics, and leave teens with some tools for dealing with such things in life. It is our plan to repeat these activities next school year as well with a speaker in the fall for high school students and another in the spring for grades 6 through 8.

The speaker – Kyle Quilausing is living proof of the power of your choices.  Born in Hilo, Hawaii, Kyle’s upbringing was ideal. He describes being brought up by his grandfather with wholesome family values and strong morals and ethics. After his grandfather introduced him to golf at the age of 5, Kyle quickly fell in love with the sport, dedicating every waking moment to perfecting his craft and becoming a six-time state golf champion, winning 16 titles, coming 4th in the world, and playing alongside Tiger Woods at ten years old. But after allowing his relative success to make him arrogant and prideful, Kyle was expelled from high school in his senior year, which became the catalyst for a downward spiral that eventually led him to become a 98-pound crystal meth addict, labeled Hawaii’s most wanted and a menace to society.

Kyle’s addiction ultimately led him to spend a decade behind bars. At what might be considered his rock bottom, he dedicated himself to his sobriety (Kyle is over fifteen years sober.) He committed to doing everything in his power to better himself so he could build a legacy of youth empowerment and education upon his release.

As a motivational speaker, Kyle is engaging and charismatic; it’s impossible not to smile when encountering Kyle’s lighthearted nature. He shares a powerful and poignant message that you are always one choice away from a different life. As a Top Youth Speaker with a powerful story of adversity, regrets, and, finally, triumph, Kyle is on a bold mission to use his real-life experiences to educate and empower the youth in making healthy, wise choices for a productive life.

Today, Kyle, a successful businessman, and motivational speaker, champions the importance of every choice we make. He’s spoken at over 200 schools in the past five years and continues to educate the youth on the life-changing power of their choices. With a vision to become the positive mentor figure that his grandfather was to him, he helps students avoid the same pitfalls that he experienced. Kyle teaches students to embrace life’s possibilities, change negative behaviors and patterns, and achieve freedom through deciding to make positive choices for their present.

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