NAMPA, Idaho — If you saw a bunch of wacky socks around Canyon County on Wednesday, there's a good reason – it's 2C Kids week.
2C Kids is a movement started by Canyon County leaders two years ago. The initiative stems from a study that nearly a quarter of Idaho children have two or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
ACEs are potentially traumatic experiences that occur before 18-years of age and include abuse, neglect, and an unstable home environment.
"(ACEs) are significant life trauma experiences that can affect you the rest of your life," Nampa School District Executive Director of Elementary Education Shelley Bonds said.
"A lot of our kids are living with ACEs. The reality is, ACEs don't discriminate," she said. "ACEs don't care where you're born, who you're born to, or your socioeconomic status."
Bonds said children dealing with ACEs could develop long-term mental and physical health problems without intervention. Knowing that NSD students and children around Canyon County are experiencing these challenges, Bonds said that the community had rallied together to show them they matter – through 2C Kids.
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This year, the Nampa community took 2C Kids to a new level by coordinating a week of activities that connect young people with a trusted adult they can rely on during tough times. The Nampa City Council even proclaimed it "2C Kids Week" in a meeting on Monday.
For Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling, the initiative has a clear goal, to let every child know they matter and deserve to be loved.
"We have seen a lot of need in young people that are discouraged, and they're carrying an extra level of stress," Kling told Idaho News 6. "It's important in the midst of the world that we're living in today that our young people know they have a future ahead of them. As adults, we're reinforcing our love for them and that they matter."
This week's activities include:
- Chalk the Walk — where groups wrote encouraging sayings on school sidewalks throughout the county
- Band Together for Kids — which delivered wrist bands from Optum Idaho stating "You Matter; You are Loved" to all students in the county and shared a video from Kling
- My Trusted Adult — when students identify an adult they trust and put it on a sticky note displayed in school hallways
- Rock your Socks – the day every person was encouraged to wear fun socks and share photos online
- Hope Notes – passing supportive notes on to others
- High-five Friday – when community groups can adopt a school to hand out high-fives to students as they walk into school on Friday
Mitch Minnette, CEO/President of the Nampa Chamber of Commerce, said the business community has enjoyed participating in 2C Kids Week. He believes that the effort is worthwhile even if the initiative impacts one child.
"I think sometimes they forget that adults do care about them," Minnette said. "So, at the end of the day, the goal is to let one kid know that he or she is loved and that they matter."
Bonds, who also oversees mental health and wellness initiatives in the Nampa School District, said 2C Kids helps children realize that they have an adult they can trust.
"When kids hear it repeatedly, it begins to resonate," she said. "They start to see the actions of adults around them, which means that people do notice them. That 'I am not invisible. I am loved and cared for, and people see me.' Which is what we want every single human being in Canyon County to feel."
More information about adopting a school for High-Five Friday is available here.