Over 50 Hawaiʻi community partners and stakeholders gathered at the Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center in support of creating opportunities for youth action. Participants learned more about OYAH’s efforts to replace youth incarceration using a transformative indigenous model. They also provided updates on the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Racial Equity 2030 Challenge, to connect stakeholders with Kawailoa campus partners, and to commit to bold action to support positive youth pathways. 

Those who joined the OYAH convening included kūpuna, Native Hawaiian organizations, community-based organizations, law enforcement, Judiciary, Office of Youth Services, Department of Health, Department of Educations, University of Hawaiʻi, youth program participants, and policy interns. 

Participants broke into working group sessions to discuss and exchange means of support for Hawaiʻi’s youth population in the following areas: 

Affordable housing 

  • Need: Living wage careers & true affordability
  • Pathways to education / vocational certifications for living wages
  • Developmentally appropriate and affordable housing

Workforce development 

  • Need: Shift mindsets, remove barriers, & prepare youth for work 
  • Develop relationships with employers to overcome stigma
  • Reframe lived experience as strength, resilience
  • Simplify requirements / eligibility for program referrals
  • Help youth identify vocation, passion, spark 
  • Prepare youth for employer expectations (soft skills)

Mental health and trauma-informed care

  • Need: Expanded supports & improved access 
  • Extend services for trafficked youth beyond age 18
  • Culturally-informed and spiritually-based resources
  • 24 hour accessibility for services

Justice system for youth

  • Need: Diversion, replace “corrections” with “healing”
  • More resources for diversion
  • Prevent CAMHD, DOE, and CPS youth from entering juvenile justice system
  • Support system the whole family can turn to, including ho‘oponopono
  • Offer what ‘ōpio need (someone to talk to, love and attention)
  • Close the gap between the quality of public vs. private schools