Hauʻoli Hāʻulelau…Happy Autumn!
In the last Transitions newsletter, I wrote of the importance of collaboration when it comes to taking better care of our keiki, ʻōpio, and their ʻohana.
With that, I have some incredibly exciting news for Hale Kipa!
Recently, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) awarded $20 million to the Partners in Development Foundation and its collaborative partners, Opportunity Youth Action in Hawai‘i (OYAH) at Kawailoa, which includes Hale Kipa, Kinai ʻEha, RYSE (Residential Youth Services and Empowerment), and HYCF (Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility).
The grant supports the WKKF Racial Equity 2030 challenge, an effort to implement transformative change in the systems that uphold racial inequities. OYAH’s project is “Kawailoa: A Transformative Indigenous Model to End Youth Incarceration.”
As you know, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are disproportionately represented in the juvenile justice system. Not only is confinement ineffective, but it worsens criminal behavior, systemic racism, inequality, and disenfranchisement. It also further exacerbates the setbacks that this population already faces including foster care, problems at home and in school, substance abuse, trauma, loss of loved ones, depression, human trafficking, and economic instability.
Hale Kipa’s portion of the grant money will primarily support our Hale Lanipōlua Assessment Center, a haven for youth ages 12 to 17 who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking, and other related Hale Kipa programs.
These efforts are at the core of the critical work we do here at Hale Kipa. This safe house gives our young people a secure place to stay where they have 24-hour support, access to caring adults, and, ultimately, a fighting chance to stay out of the juvenile justice system and lead the rewarding, productive lives that they so deserve.
Our collaboration with OYAH and the resulting grant is a powerful example of how community organizations can work together to overcome challenges, such as racial inequities, that hold back our young people, preventing them from reaching their full potential and stymieing their ability to contribute to our state, country, and the world in profound and meaningful ways.
May each of you have a Hauʻoli Lā Hoʻomaikaʻi! Wishing everyone all the best this Thanksgiving season. I hope you are able to enjoy this time with your family and friends as we continue to work together to mālama and care for those who are not as fortunate.