WISDOM CIRCLES OCEANIA PROGRAMS

This culturally relevant, ‘āina-based youth arts program is core to our organization’s goal of addressing Hawaiʻi’s severe lack of accessible arts programs and explores interconnection through art, environment, and cultural identity. This program serves middle and high school students who are at high opportunity and could benefit from a trauma-informed arts program.

 

We offer culturally significant place-based practices in an outdoor space to cultivate youth’s awareness of their relationship with their environment and with themselves. They learn to translate cultural and personal storytelling through the arts, finding a deeper mind-body experience that increases understanding and safety. The culmination of Story Quilt is the creation of an expansive nine-foot art quilt by all participants that expresses their collective perspective on, and solutions to needs in their community.

 

The quilt will become a living creation, carrying the stories of those who created it and growing ideas as youth take leadership through arts engagement with their community.  

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This therapeutic space provides an opportunity for professionals working in service-based fields to access the arts through a series of online or in-person workshops. During the pandemic, participants found inspiration and connection through this program in a time that has been isolating and overwhelming. Participants learn ways to balance their emotional and mental well-being and bring more effective creative processes into their work through mindfulness tools like guided visualization and Eco-Art Therapy. Participants include nonprofit directors, program managers, community educators, and healthcare workers.

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The mission of the ʻŌpio Protectors Network is to provide safe youth-centered spaces and programs and promote a community culture of safety and restoration throughout Hawaiʻi. The network consists of individuals and organizations committed to creating an environment that feels safe, prevents harm, and provides structures of accountability. With a diversity of youth, cultural practitioners, health workers, peacebuilders, and artists contributing to the development of this work through think tanks, arts workshops, and youth leadership, our goals are to build consensus on what constitutes harm, strengthen community responsiveness, and seed a safety network. Our vision is that these protocols can serve as a template to all youth-serving programs in Hawaiʻi, to adopt methods that are survivor-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally relevant.

 

Organizational collaborators include Wisdom Circles Oceania, Hoʻopae Pono Peace Project, Weaving Our Stories, The Pōpolo Project, and Hawai’i Women in Filmmaking.