pōkiʻi program

The Pōkiʻi level of our mentorship program focuses on youth (often at-risk due to difficulties with their families and society) helping them to improve their levels of social functioning, self-esteem, cultural connection, and sense of communal belonging. These personal areas of growth develop during their experience at our traditional lo‘i kalo (taro farm). 

Youth are mentored by Dean Wilhelm (who has 15 years of experience teaching in the DOE, 10 of those working with challenged youth at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility) and peer mentors on staff. The method of mentoring consists of teaching a foundation of Hawaiian values while practicing the traditional cultivation of kalo as a means to shift, grow, and improve their life skills and prosocial development. In addition, participants learn about aspects of Hawaiian history and culture and how these relate to themselves. 


Participants are expected to develop positive feelings about themselves, which are expected to manifest in their thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.

Social Competence

Participants develop skills to comfortably express themselves in interpersonal and social relationships manifested by improved relationships with peers and adults.

Understanding & Appreciation of Hawaiian Culture & Values

Participants learn about the Hawaiian culture and values through instruction and example during day-to-day hands on activities in the loʻi and demonstrate a new appreciation for their own cultural traditions.

Connection to ‘Āina & Community

Participants' feelings of connection to place and community can be indicated by how they act and speak. Words like It’s so peaceful here, I feel safe, and I don’t want to leave likely indicate a feeling a sense of connection which is not demonstrated when they first enter the program.

Submit an inquiry via email to schedule regular Pōkiʻi visits and programming with our staff.