We are very proud of the successful completion of another great program. Our partnership with Partners in Development Foundation has allowed us to have a greater impact on our community than we could ever accomplish alone. We look forward to continuing to support great programs designed to improve the lives of Hawaii's youth for as long as we can.
Recap of the 2014 program
Brief History: Nā ʻOiwi Kāne (NOK) is a Native Hawaiian Organization and therefore, under the provisions of the U.S. Small Business Administration, provides educational opportunities to improve the capability and well being of Native Hawaiians, specifically supporting positive male role models and mentoring of male youth. The Partners in Development Foundation (PIDF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public corporation whose mission is to, “Inspire and equip families and communities for success and service using timeless Native Hawaiian values.” Incorporated in 1997, PIDF has been successful in serving Native Hawaiian communities through innovative and effective programming in the fields of early childhood education, social services, youth mentoring activities and environmental sustainability.
In 2009, PIDF was awarded a contract by the Office of Youth Service (OYS) to manage and operate the Ke Kama Pono Safehouse (KKP). This 12-bed residential facility houses ajudicated young men from the ages of 13-17 for an average period of six months or up to a year. Over the past five years, KKP has successfully worked with 110 youth and has been widely acknowledge by entities like the Department of Human Services, OYS, Family Court judges and the State Senate for its exemplary work with at-risk youth.
One of the reasons for KKP’s high success rate is an effective youth mentoring program that prepares the residents for successful re-entry into school and society.
Positive mentors in the fields of carpentry, culinary arts, agriculture and Native Hawaiian
culture engage with the residents in various hands-on project-based learning activities. The partnership with NOK has resulted in the opportunity for the KKP residents to explore the potential vocation areas of construction, culinary arts and agriculture, while learning more of their Native Hawaiian ancestry. The following narrative will describe in detail the work that the Nā ʻOiwi Kāne Grant Fund of the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation supported and made possible.
Program and Grant Goal:
The overarching goal of the Ke Kama Pono Safe House program is to support, empower, and equip adjudicated at-risk and homeless boys, ages 13 to 17, in a safe, nurturing environment built on Native Hawaiian values. For the Nā ʻOiwi Kāne Grant Fund of the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, the goal of the project was to expose adjudicated young men ages 13-17 to positive male role models teaching sustainable hands-on activities that would promote civic engagement, positive peer/mentor relationships and nurture their identity with the Native Hawaiian culture.
Objectives: Upon the completion of the Nā ʻOiwi Kāne Grant Fund of the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation adjudicated boys ages 13-17 will have:
Objective One: Learned different sustainable trades (carpentry, culinary arts and natural farming) through Native Hawaiian male mentors from the Waiʻanae Community;
Objective Two: Developed an appreciation for the Native Hawaiian culture through a series of cultural workshops and hands-on activities and;
Objective Three: Increased their resiliency and positively reintegrate back into their homes and communities.
Activities: Objective One:
Carpentry: Residents participated 2-5 hrs a week and learned how to safely use tools and materials to create projects such as planter boxes, tool sheds, benches and other outdoor equipment needed at the safehouse. Advanced students conducted community service projects to repair stairs and build steps and railings at the Ka Paʻalana Homeless Preschool in Kalaeloa. The residents were also able to help rebuild the roof and water logged walls of a shed for a Native Hawaiian non-profit.
Natural Farming: KKP successfully partnered with Mountain View Dairy to teach the residents about the growing trend of Natural Farming. The residents were able to successfully raise vegetable and fruit crops as well as raise pigs and egg-laying chickens to provide nutritious products for their dinner table. This agricultural process uses no chemical or plant-based (organic) pesticides, rather this method uses natural products and applications to rejuvinate soil and produce healthier crops and animals. The boys would also provide a take home basket of produce and eggs for their families during monthly parent night meetings. The residents would visit their mentor twice a week and work approximately 2-5 hours at the dairy.
Culinary Arts: Residents learned the valuable life skill of how to plan nutritious and healthy meals by using shopping ads to create the best possible weekly menu for the house. Vegetables and fruits from the farm were used to increase nutrition and off-set the cost of purchasing food from markets. The carpentry mentoring program created an outdoor kitchen so guest cooks and mentors could effectively instruct the residents on healthy cooking.
The Native Hawaiian culture was woven into strength-based mentoring activities. As a result of NOK funding, KKP residents participated in cultural events or workshops, that included imu (traditional in-the-ground oven), lo‘i (taro patch farming), he‘e nalu (wave riding), mahi‘ai (natural farming), and loko i‘a (fishpond) renovation. All cultural programs are conducted off-site and many times involved cross-fertilization with other Native Hawaiian organizations.
Certain cultural programs, like loʻi maintenance and mahi‘ai tending, are weekly programs that provided year-round learning. Residents received repetitious lessons that resulted in an extensive knowledge of natural farming and taro planting.
Imu Workshops were cyclical and the 3-day events allowed KKP residents the opportunity to participate in an every-step-of-the-way learning experience with seasoned Cultural Specialist, Aaron Mahi. The process began with learning of the different protocol needed in asking for permission to begin the imu. It also involved some mechanics like cutting kiawe wood, gathering of porous stones, and the retrieval of moisture-laden banana stumps and preparing the pig for the imu and finally, opening the
imu the next day to remove the fully-cooked pig. Each resident received a close-up, personal experience they will hopefully remember for the rest of their life. Imu workshops, like the other cultural activities, are labor-intensive but interwoven with rich cultural values. Much more than merely hearing PIDF’s five core values, each resident is required to display Aloha, Lōkahi, Mālama, Po‘okela, and Pono while he is at work during the imu workshop. The KKP program conducts and hosts at least five imu workshops each year, often times to teach other organizations the step-by-step imu process. As each KKP resident educates himself from his first imu workshop, those who have mastered it are given the opportunity to assist in the teaching of imu to others, perpetuating the “Learn It, Live It” principle.
Through NOK funding, KKP residents were able to participate in a number of community service projects. Many projects involved serving those who were less fortunate than the residents. For example, the residents constructed planter boxes, then took seedlings from their own gardens and donated the planter boxes to homeless families living at the Waiʻanae Boat Harbor. The residents also took vegetables and often made sandwhiches then delivered them to the homeless living near the boat harbor.
KKP residents participated in weekly service projects by partnering with other agencies. Through the Surfriders Program in Waikiki, KKP residents taught autistic youth how to surf and would also volunteer weekly at the Ka Paʻalana Homeless Family Education Program. Using their newly acquired mentoring skills, KKP residents built a handicap accessible ramp, laid cement for a tricycle path and built small picnic benches for the preschool. The philosophy of the program is to build resiliency for the residents by instilling in them a heart that is ready to serve.
Indepth introspective discussion takes place after each community service event. The residents are given time to process serving the less fortunate in our midst and often the boys will identify other things they could do to better serve this population. We try to translate this to their return home with some success. We have found that the residents have an easier time serving those who are somewhat “anonymous” rather than their families.
The Partners in Development Foundation program prides itself on innovative program that produces quantified measures of success. The Ke Kama Pono Program is the only OYS adjudicated youth facility that has a parent participation rate of 80%.
Furthermore, a prime measure of success for an adjudicated youth program is its recidivism rate. The Pew Charitable Trusts released findings in July 2014 of data from the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF). The data tracked youth released from HYCF in 2005 to 2007. The outcomes of the youth were tracked for up to three years. The recidivism rate was calculated to be at 75%, they specifically tracked re-adjudication or convictions as adults.
The national recidivism rate according to the Justice Policy Institute (concludes that overall juvenile recidivism rates vary between 50 to 70% within two years of release from a residential program. Last year, the recidivism rate for the Ke Kama Pono Safe house was 24%. This rate is by far, the best in state of Hawaiʻi. The Ke Kama Pono staff is dedicated to the success of our former residents. This is evident by the fact that Ke Kama Pono staff track our former residents for 3 years after they leave the program. These monthly “check-ins” provide support, guidance and the feeling of “aloha” for the former safe house residents.
Partners in Development Foundation is grateful for the financial support of the Nā ʻŌiwi Kāne Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation in contributing to this mentoring program with a proven track record of success with at-risk male