The Hāmākua Youth Center strives to provide local youth access to unconditional support and guidance in life skills essential to their growth into kind, engaged, and inspired young adults. In working toward this vision, we are proud to offer low-cost after school, occasional weekends, intersession, and summer enrichment programs for both keiki (ages 12 and under) and ʻōpio (ages 13 and over).
Our programs honor the rich history of our community by sharing in the Hawaiian values of kuleana, aloha, laulima, and mahalo. With these values rooting us to place, our programs grow to reflect the multi-ethnic diversity of Hāmākua and prepare our youth for wherever their journeys may take them. From place-based experiential learning at Waipiʻo Valley to digital internships, the HYC provides a loving, inclusive space for youth to be - and discover - themselves.
The Hawaiian values of kuleana, aloha, laulima, and mahalo are the root of all we do at HYC. KALM for short, we share these values with each other, with our families and community, and with this place we all call home.
Mālama i kou kuleana
Take Care of your Responsibilities
Through KULEANA youth learn that their actions affect others.
Aloha ke kahi i ke kahi
Love one another
Through ALOHA youth learn to share and accept others for who they are.
E Kuahui like i ka hana
Let everyone work together
Through LAULIMA youth learn to pitch in, work together, and be accountable.
Mahalo i ka mea loa'a
Be thankful for all that you have
Through MAHALO youth learn to show gratitude for what they have been given.
Our Keiki Programs are open to youth ages 12 and under. During the school year we serve keiki from Honoka'a Elementary School. Each day our staff escort students the half block from the school to HYC and provide in-town rides home at the end of the day. Our occasional weekend, intersession, and summer programs are open to all keiki within the Hāmākua district.
All keiki programs are rooted in learning Hawaiian values, stories, and basic language. From this place of strength, our keiki begin to explore the multicultural community of Hāmākua through food and history. Activities include homework help, growing and preparing food, arts and crafts (lei-making, ceramics, painting), music, STEM exploration, and field trips.
COVID Update: HYC is currently providing full-day programming for keiki in a safe and caring environment. Youth receive support with distance learning as well as enrichment in activities such as music, art, and gardening. HYC is currently at full capacity in line with federal and state requirements for safe re-opening. Please CONTACT US by email or call (808) 775-0976 if you are interested in adding your keiki to our 2020-2021 wait list.
Our ʻŌpio Programs are open to youth ages 13 and over who attend Honoka'a High and Intermediate School or Laupahoehoe Public Charter School. The Hāmākua Youth Center is currently undergoing a large capital improvement project that will include a teen center in the renovation of the historic Okada Hospital. This separate space just for teens will enable the expansion of the HYC ʻŌpio Programs.
Our plan is to provide teens with advanced learning in Hawaiian culture and the multicultural community of Hāmākua. Alongside these opportunities, our ʻōpio programs will create space for teens to explore their identities, passions, and dreams for the future as they prepare to transition into adulthood.
Internships: In partnership with the Kō Education Center (formerly NHERC), HYC offers internship opportunities to area teens interested in learning about work in nonprofits, including areas such as website design and social media outreach. There are no current internship openings but we encourage teens to watch for opportunities throughout the year!
Scholarships: The HYC offers three scholarship opportunities to recent graduates of the Honoka'a High and Laupahoehoe Public Charter schools. Eligibility criteria for the Big Dave, Jaquelyn McCandless Medical, and Disney scholarships are available each spring when applications are accepted in partnership with the Honoka'a Business Association.
We encourage interested teens to CONTACT US by email or call (808) 775-0976 with an interest in our internship and scholarship opportunities during the 2020-2021 school year.
The Hāmākua Youth Center strives to practice the values we teach through ongoing community service activities that ensure the health and welfare of our youth and families. We believe that modeling kuleana, aloha, laulima, and mahalo is the best way to teach these values to our youth ... and through practicing these values our youth will become leaders wherever their travels may take them.
For over a year, HYC takes our keiki on a Friday field trip to the Honoka'a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple Kitchen where nutritious meals are prepared for the whole family. In the months since COVID-19 turned into a worldwide pandemic, our service to community has continued to grow in urgency. Throughout this crisis, HYC has worked with Vibrant Hawai'i, Queen Lili'uokalani Trust, Kamehameha Schools, and Activate Hawai'i Aid to pack and distribute food boxes to families and our community. We have also worked to support the educational needs of our keiki through online enrichment programs and a partnership with the Hawai'i Science and Technology Museum to pack and distribute home STEM kits to our keiki.