The Hawaii Youth Challenge Academy’s mission statement says it all. “Empowering the At-Promise youth of Hawaii with a quasi-military regimen. Exploring their strengths to navigate pathways through educational and career success. Vision Statement: We envision a thriving program of future leaders striving towards greatness.”
This year marks the academy’s 30th anniversary. That’s three decades of helping youth in our communities find a purpose and learn career skills they can use in the near future. In the early 90s, there was a pandemic of high school dropouts. These at-risk youth did not have many resources or alternative programs for them other than incarceration. The National Guard Bureau recognized the success of the military structure and adapted it to develop this program. There are over 43 Challenge programs across the United States.
According to the Program Coordinator, Kahikina Abuluyan, the future is looking bright for the facility and the youth.
“Total length of our program is 17 ½ months. Class 54 graduated back in June and is now in their 3rd month of Post Residential Phase. This is where we’re tracking how they’re applying the skills they’ve learned at the Academy. Where are they working? Are they in the military? Did they continue school? Like Graduate Pre-Keanu Welle who was featured on our last segment, he started at Honolulu Community College studying Architectural, Engineering, and CAD Technology. Cadet Patience Moni-Kelii is saving lives as a lifeguard at the waterpark while she’s pursuing military enlistment. We have developed a strategic plan focusing on enhancing our Academics, Placement, and Partnerships. But a big effort we’re looking for is our Alumni! This is a huge group of stakeholders that we’re looking to recall. If you’re an alum, please contact us!”
If you are an Alum or would like more information, visit https://dod.hawaii.gov/yca/