Hale ‘Opio Kaua‘i announced recently that A&B Foundation awarded the group a $20,000 grant to assist with the restoration of the administration office at 2959 Umi St. in Lihu‘e.
Hale ‘Opio is a non-profit organization with a mission of “Embracing Children and Youth Entrusted to Our Care.” It has been providing communitybased programs for education, prevention, diversion, and treatment for children and youth through the age of 20, since 1975.
Youth are referred due to problem behaviors that may include chronic runaway, truancy, curfew violations, probation violations, law violations or other disruptive social behaviors. Many of the youth receiving residential services have also experienced abuse or neglect in their families or extended families, and nearly 50 percent have documented case histories of physical or sexual abuse.
Administered by a local board of directors, Hale ‘Opio is licensed by the Department of Human Services as a Child Placing and Child Serving organization, and was nationally accredited in 1999 by the Council of Accreditation for its services. The accreditation assures that Hale ‘Opio is meeting the highest national standards in terms of performing services that meet community needs, conducting its operations safely and effectively, and managing its funds wisely.
The administrative office building located in downtown Lihu‘e serves as Hale ‘Opio’s headquarters and the site where more than 250 youth participate in various programs throughout the year. Five days a week, youth in the group homes have access to the learning resource center and fine arts studio. The fine arts program is an integral part of the therapeutic environment, and instruction includes mixed media, allowing youth to incorporate digital images, photography, digital video, and music into multi-media presentations. Hale ‘Opio youth are regularly invited to participate in Kaua‘i art shows, and have received many awards. The art program also includes Hawaiian culture as part of its learning experience by teaching youth to paddle a canoe that they refurbished and sponsoring a canoe team for recreational purposes.
Hale ‘Opio has continued to evolve, providing a continuum of services on Kaua‘i that includes therapeutic group homes, emergency shelter services, therapeutic foster homes, an adolescent diversion program, an urgency response system, crisis stabilization and respite home services, family group conferencing, victim impact classes, middle and high school peer mediation services, and Kaua‘i Teen Court.
All services are “child-focused” and dedicated to improving the quality of life for youth in its care by creating a sense of belonging, increasing self-awareness, and teaching skills to help be successful, productive members of the community.