The Puna district of Hawaii represents one of the poorest, fastest growing and most under-served communities in the State of Hawaii and perhaps the nation as a whole. We face cultural and economic challenges, environmental degradation, invasive species infestation, communicable diseases, earthquakes, ongoing volcanic eruptions resulting in population displacement. Lava maps
The children and families of Puna reflect severe levels of psychosocial and economic risks. The percentage of children with special needs is some of the highest in the State and growing. Currently social programming is inadequate to assure that children and families are 21st century prepared and that bio-psychosocial sustainability needs are assured. The current social service, health, mental health looks a lot like practice on the frontier and our educational system are unprepared to provide for the 21st needs of Puna’s challenging environmental and social conditions. Poverty Statistics
College education is less likely for youth born here today. Computer literacy, green skills orientation, community networking, leadership and social problem solving skills are more likely to assure the resiliency necessary in order to offset poverty and psycho-social risk factors. A trauma informed and capable intervention focus seems more appropriate as an intervention model as risk factors are pervasive and prevalent.
Current and long-term community planning efforts alone are insufficient to insure that all medical, social and environmental resource needs of the community are available in sustainably ways.
Grassroots and private sector initiatives need to augment public sector efforts in order to offer resources to encourage innovative new program development. Use of the World Wide Web, new social program models are able to be replicated across the community and elsewhere are being provided. We believe that our program models and outcomes can serve as generalizable models for changing environmental- human- community response.
We recognize that our families and community elders reflect an unappreciated resource for sustainable wisdom, cultural continuity, practical living skills along w/ agrarian knowledge to support community social sustainability. We effort to embrace them into our programs and offer the potential of outreach to them by youthful volunteer helpers and trauma informed Elder Youth Resourcing Programs-Articles