Opportunity Youth Action Hawaiʻi at Kawailoa
Kawailoa translates to the long waters, describing an ecosystem of youth resources and supports that drive this transformative Indigenous initiative to replace youth incarceration with cultural and therapeutic services that empower youth and strengthen community.
The Opportunity Youth Action Hawaiʻi (OYAH) hui at the Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center seeks to transform youth justice approaches using Indigenous knowledge, values, and practices to heal and empower Hawai’i’s vulnerable youth so that they become leaders of social justice systems, racial equity, and healthy lives.
$20 Million to Reform Youth Incarceration
Opportunity Youth Action Hawai‘i works to replace prison time with Hawaiian-based restorative justice.
How Hawaiʻi Is Ending Youth Incarceration After More Than a Century of Colonization
Originally shared on Nonprofit Quarterly by Annabelle Le Jeune on Jan. 19 2023, click here to read. A young Native Hawaiian farmer shows up to work every day to cultivate indigenous crops using traditional and contemporary methods to feed his island home community....
A project that aims to end youth incarceration
Originally shared on Midweek's Proof Positive series by Annabelle Le Jeune on Dec. 14 2022, click here to read. The Olomana mauna and the Koʻolau’s nestle a 500-acre campus where young people farm kalo, work out, repair an age-old waʻa (canoe), obtain their GED,...
The Opportunity Youth Action Hawaiʻi (OYAH) hui is a unique collaboration of state and nonprofit agencies at the Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center. Together, they are creating a pu’uhonua, or place of peace, safety, and healing. The partners of OYAH formally organized in 2020 and share a common purpose to transform punitive modalities of treatment and incarceration with effective therapeutic community-based programs rooted in Indigenous knowledge systems and cultural practices. In this place, Hawai’i’s youth can learn to become healers in their own lives, in their families, and their communities.
Voices of Our Community
“They helped me out, I was homeless and I work at Kupa ʻAina farm full-time now. With the help of RYSE and Partners In Development Foundation, I got my own place and now I just want to soak up all this knowledge like a sponge and teach others.”
– M. Perez-Fonseca
Join this work to support opportunity youth in building greater belonging, purpose, community connections, education, workforce readiness and skills to contribute to and lead healthy, thriving families and communities in Hawai’i and beyond.