HONOLULU (KHON2) — 20 teens in foster care got to enjoy Teen Day in Hilo.

This event was sponsored by the East Hawaii Youth Leadership HI HOPES board. The acronym stands for Hawaii Helping Our People Envision Success.

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They shared the Hilo Family Court courtroom with social workers, deputy attorneys general, guardians ad litem, parents’ attorneys, HI HOPES board members and volunteers, Salvation Army Family Intervention staff, judges and Judiciary staff members.

Third Circuit Family Court Judge Darien Ching Nagata said, “The goals for Teen Day are to educate foster youth on what rights and services are available to them, encourage them to attend court hearings and meet and talk to their judge, expose them to the court environment in a friendly, welcoming way and really to have an enjoyable time.”

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald greeted the teens and encouraged them to complete their education. Recktenwald then fielded their questions, including “Of all the careers, why did you choose this one?” “What do you like most about your job?” “When did Foster Care start?” and “What is your favorite mochi?”

The teens won gift cards, goodie bags, Polaroid cameras and even a pair of Apple AirPods. 

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The day ended with pizza and cake, and an opportunity to take a photo in the Judge’s chair, banging the gavel, and asking for “order in the court!”