Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center Wins International Grant Challenge

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Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center
Mark Patterson (blue aloha shirt) with some of his students at the Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center. - Photo: Jason Lees

Statement by OHA Board of Trustees Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey

The Opportunity Youth Action Hawaiʻi collaborative at the Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center has been named one of five international awardees of the W.K. Kellogg’s Racial Equity 2030 challenge – an open call for bold solutions to drive an equitable future for children, families and communities around the world.

The October 11 announcement represents a major win for Hawaiʻi and furthers the message that what is good for Hawaiians is good for all of Hawaiʻi.

Kawailoa’s orientation and adoption of Native Hawaiian practices and programming in its work with our most vulnerable youth, replacing incarceration with a Native Hawaiian restorative system that empowers communities and shifts resources to community-driven and culturally grounded sanctuaries, is detailed in its entry titled “Kawailoa: A Transformative Indigenous Model to End Youth Incarceration in Hawaiʻi and Beyond.”

The collaborative includes Kawailoa Administrator Mark Patterson and team members from Partners in Development and its Kupa ʻĀina Farm, Kinai ʻEha, Hale Lanipōlua, Residential Youth and Services & Empowerment, Hawaiʻi Youth and Correctional Facility, and Olomana School.

OHA was honored to share Markʻs vision for Kawailoa in 2021 in both print and video on its Ka Wai Ola News site. And OHA videographer Jason Lees worked with Patterson to create a video for the Kellogg application.

The five awardees will now share some $80 million in funding. Kawailoa’s award of $20 million over the next eight years will go to Partners in Development as the financial umbrella, with funding going to support the cultural component for each program on the Kawailoa campus.

The other four international winners are:

• Brazil: The SETA Project: Transformative Anti-Racist Education Systems

• Illinois, U.S.A.: Healing Through Justice: A Community-Led Breakthrough Strategy for Healing-Centered Communities

• Mexico and Central and South America: Indigenous Lands Initiative: Securing Land Ownership Rights for Indigenous Communities

• Kenya, Sierra Leone and the U.S.:

Overcoming Environmental Racism by Knowing, Using and Shaping Law.


For more information about Kawailoa, please visit kawaiola.news/hoonaauao/a-correctional-center-becomes-a-puuhonua/. More information about the Racial Equity 2030 Challenge, the awardees, and the finalists can be found at wkkf.org/re2030.