Our Vision & Mission
Hāmākua Youth Center is dedicated to the children and young adults of the Hāmākua Coast. We began serving youth in 1996 when a grassroots group of community members saw the need for youth to have a safe place during non-school hours. For 13 years, the YWCA supported and sponsored the youth center. In 2009, the Hāmākua Youth Foundation, Inc. was established as a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization to support the Hāmākua Youth Center in a new phase of growth in the grassroots mission to create nurturing and dynamic youth-centered activities for youth from six to eighteen years of age.
Our Vision is that Hāmākua youth have access to unconditional support and guidance in life skills essential to their growth into kind, engaged, and inspired young adults. Our Mission is to open doorways to the world by sharing life skills rooted in the Hawaiian values of kuleana, aloha, laulima, and mahalo.
Mālama i kou kuleana
Take care of your responsibilities
Aloha kekahi i kekahi
Love one another
E kuahui like i ka hana
Let everyone work together
Mahalo i ka mea loaʻa
Be thankful for all that you have
Our programs engage these values to cultivate the awareness necessary for Hāmākua youth to thrive both here and beyond.
What We Do: For 21 years the Hāmākua Youth Center has provided safe, low cost, and enriching programs to high risk area youth. Our extracurricular programming blends academic learning and experiential life skills to enrich the lives of our students and their families. Through our Keiki Programs, elementary-aged children are provided with place-based multicultural learning opportunities, homework assistance, and experiential learning through agriculture, food preparation, arts and crafts, music, and a variety of field trips. Our ʻŌpio Programs expand these opportunities for area teens, including advanced multicultural learning opportunities, experiential learning in additional areas such as internships, and access to three locally-supported scholarships for recent high school graduates.
Our Impact: The Hāmākua Youth Center is the only facility in the Hāmākua district to offer low cost after school alternatives and summer programs for at-risk youth. Our staff and volunteers take a personal approach to every youth entering the door, with an emphasis on life-long learning and building self-esteem. In the 2019-2020 academic school year, the Youth Center:
Enrolled 40 keiki in our after school program
Partnered with Honokaʻa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple Kitchen to provide Friday night meals to our youth and families
Provided digital enrichment opportunities to our keiki during the COVID-19 school closures
Partnered with Queen Liliʻuokalani Trust, Kamehameha Schools, and Activate Hawaiʻi Aid to deliver fresh and nutritious food to our keiki and families
Hosted an intern through the CareerPASS program at the Kō Educational Center
Awarded three scholarships to recent Honokaʻa High School graduates
We are also most proud that our keiki consider the HYC to be their home away from home, fondly renaming it “Our House” as a reflection of their positive feelings toward their Youth Center ʻohana.
MEET THE TEAM
Mahealani Maikuʻi, Program Director
Shelbie Kaholoaʻa, Program Specialist
Summer Ah Choy, Program Specialist
Stasha Laʻa, Community Liaison
Jeannette Soon-Ludes, PhD, Operations Director
Lori Beach, Fiscal Director
Carl Sims III
Board of Directors
Teri Sugg, President
Jack Zimmerman, Vice President
Maurice Miranda, Treasurer
Michele Ku, Director
We are not currently accepting applications.