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Ke Kama Pono started in 2009 as a way to support Hawaiʻi's at-risk male youth. The purpose of the program is to rehabilitate adjudicated boys for successful re-entry into society in a safe, nurturing home environment.

This home environment is found in Partners in Development Foundation's Ke Kama Pono's Safe House. Groups of up to 12 adjudicated male juvenile offenders (ages 13 to 17) reside at the Oʻahu-based Safe House for between three to six months. The program works in conjunction with community organizers, mentors, substance abuse counselors, social service therapists, contract Department of Education (DOE) teachers, and more. These individuals' expertise and dedication are instrumental in the rehabilitation of the Safe House youth.

More than 210 youth have been served since the program’s inception. During that time, the recidivism rate (rate at which youth repeat criminal behavior) for the Ke Kama Pono youth has steadily decreased to sit at the current rate of 21%. The program's overall success rate is 79% compared to the national average of about 26%.

The program's high success rate is due to its comprehensive approach that includes:

  • Strengths-based mentoring and teaching of trade skills
  • On-site schooling and a credit recovery process
  • Focus on service learning and civic responsibility
  • Family reunification and mandatory involvement of the boys' families
    Implementation of cultural activities, especially Native Hawaiian.



The multi-faceted approach of Ke Kama Pono prepares each young man for a healthier relationship with his family and facilitates a successful return to school, their family, and the community. 

While with Ke Kama Pono, young men learn valuable life skills that will carry them to success long after their stay at the Safehouse. 

Staff provide group and one-on-one sessions with the youth to work with them on constructive communication skills, anger management, emotional intelligence, and other ways to cope with traumas they may have experienced.

Over the years, the youth have been able to participate in different workshops and trainings that provide career skills such as carpentry and farming. 

The Ke Kama Pono program offers many ways for youth to connect with Native Hawaiian culture. 

The youth frequently work with Hoʻokuaʻāina to learn about ancient Hawaiian kalo production in a traditional loʻi. The time they spend being immersed in all aspects of the loʻi endows them with an understanding and appreciation of Hawaiian culture.

In addition to this 'wet' kalo experience, the youth also get to work with 'dry' kalo at our Kupa ʻAina Natural Farming Project on the Windward Coast. They learn about the importance of the ʻāina or land to Hawaiian people, and how nutritious crops can be grown with natural and Native conditions. 

The young men also have the opportunity to work with cultural specialists and local practitioners to do an imu every year.The process takes place over two days.

Being at the Safehouse does not mean that the boys' schooling is interrupted. Local educators come to the Safehouse to teach the young men and ensure that they complete their required courses and work towards either completing high school or a GED.

Recent News

Recent News

Farming program that aims to help at-risk youth find their way is a finalist for $20M grant

September 28, 2021

Kawailoa caught the eye of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. It named KYFWC one of 10 finalists in its Racial Equity 2030 challenge. KYFWC wants to establish a residential mental health campus for minors. The ultimate goal is to perfect a program rooted in Native Hawaiian practices that ends youth incarceration.

PIDF receives $100,000 to address adverse childhood experiences among Native Hawaiians

May 12, 2021

The grant will benefit the youth of the PIDF’s Ke Kama Pono Safehouse program for adjudicated youth.

Ka Paʻalana Completes Renovations

February 7, 2020

Our Ka Paʻalana and Ke Kama Pono programs recently finished some much-needed renovations on the classroom yurts at our Hope Shelter site.

Pāʻina Celebrates Boys’ Success

November 12, 2019

Eight young men from our Ke Kama Pono Boys Safehouse graduated from the program last week at our annual Ke Kama Pono Paʻina celebration.