American Heritage Girls founder responds to CDC report on the effect of COVID-19 on youth

Patti Garibay: ‘Today’s youth need the encouragement and affirmation that only comes from the Lord God Himself’

February 28, 2022

CINCINNATI, Ohio A disturbing new report from the CDC outlines an upsetting trend in the health and wellbeing of youth in America. Although overall pediatric emergency room visits declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of visits increased significantly for firearm injuries, self-harm, and drug poisoning compared to pre-pandemic levels. The report indicated that the loss of parents or guardians, the abrupt shift in daily life, and overall isolation due to the pandemic were the most likely causes of these unhealth behavioral concerns.

Patti Garibay, founder and executive director of American Heritage Girls (AHG, www.americanheritagegirls.org), recently responded to this concerning report, highlighting the need for parents, teachers and guardians to seek biblical and age-appropriate aids for their children who might be struggling with these issues.

Garibay stated, “A recent CDC report reveals that ER visits amongst children have increased dramatically from the years prior to the pandemic, not due to COVID-19, but rather eating disorders, firearm injuries, self-harm and drug poisoning. An unprecedented amount of youth is experiencing depression and anxiety. They are living with worst case scenario thinking and a scarcity mindset. They are afraid of illness, and are experiencing panic attacks, constant worrying and isolation.

“It is integral for parents to seek tools for their parenting toolbox for situations like this. Peers who are a positive influence, activities that develop the whole person and investment in their spiritual walk are known antidotes to the desperation these children are experiencing.”

Garibay concluded, “Today’s youth need the encouragement and affirmation that only comes from the Lord God Himself. As His Holy Word states in Deuteronomy 3:8, ‘The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’”

American Heritage Girls was founded in 1995 by a group of parents who wanted this faith-based, scout-type character development program for their daughters. At AHG, girls ages five to 18 meet together as a single Troop at the same time and then break out into Units by Levels. This gives AHG girls the important social experience of interacting with friends and godly mentors of various ages; members also learn leadership skills within a group setting. AHG Troops are located in local communities across the nation. If none exists in a given area, families can bring the AHG Program to their own area. An American Heritage Girls Troop Development Coach is available to provide resources to potential Charter Organizations and other families to form a new Troop. To hear more about the purpose, mission, and vision of AHG from Founder and Executive Director Patti Garibay, click here.

Today, there are Troops in all 50 states and girls being served in 15 countries around the globe. Girls can join a Troop at any time; if a Troop is not available nearby, they can become a Trailblazer and enjoy the AHG program alongside their parent. A variety of Christian denominations are also represented as Charter Organizations for Troops. Thousands of volunteer members across the country are helping girls grow in their faith, cultivate a heart for service, enjoy the great outdoors, and have more fun than they can imagine. 

The “Raising Godly Girls” radio feature and Raising Godly Girls blog shares guidance and biblically based advice on many key topics affecting girls today—from bullying and identity to anxiety and body image issues. It gives parents, educators, and faith community leaders a set of tools, resources, and Scripture-based advice to assist in raising girls after God’s own heart. The “Raising Godly Girls Minute” with Patti Garibay airs on 900+ Christian radio stations across the country. 

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