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Papa Hoike Kuleana: Accountability Program of the First Circuit Family Court

Posted on Jul 8, 2016 in Featured News
Red tomato on a vine in Hale Hilinai Garden.

Photo: A tomato in the Hale Hilinai garden, grown by juvenile clients in Papa Hoike Kuleana, the Accountability Program.

A new unit within the First Circuit Family Court Juvenile Client Services Branch, the Accountability Program (Papa Hoike Kuleana), is taking an innovative approach to helping youth complete their court-ordered restitution and community service obligations, while instilling the values of forgiveness, healing and empowerment through mentorship.

Since 2014, when the Accountability Program began, social workers Shannon Kayatani and Tracy Alcoran have worked with the juvenile clients on maintaining a garden at Hale Hilinai (House of trust, resilience and reliance), the former Juvenile Detention Center.

In the Hale Hilinai garden, young people learn to care for native and food-bearing plants, and the surrounding garden areas, with activities that build their skills in proper watering techniques, pruning, trimming, and maintenance. They also learn about mulch placement, composting, worming, fertilizing, planting, and harvesting.

The Hale Hilinai garden currently yields a regular output of grape tomatoes, and varieties of tomatoes such as roma and beefsteak. The garden also produces lettuce, cucumbers, and other vegetables. Interested youth are often sent home with harvest crops, such as kalo, to eat and plant for their families.

The Accountability Program views the Hale Hilinai garden as an ideal “learning lab.” Youth are exposed to skills and values such as planning, self-sufficiency, commitment, patience, thoroughness, hard work and thoughtfulness. It is hoped that every client referred to the Accountability Program will ultimately experience all aspects of growing the food crops, and have the option to take vegetables of their choice home to their families.