Oahu Girls Court Celebrates Strength Through Adversity
News Release from Hawaii Judiciary, February 11, 2016
KAPOLEI, Hawaii – The Oahu Girls Court celebrated the 13th class who successfully completed the Girls Court program at a special ceremony held on Thursday, February 11, at the Ronald T. Y. Moon Judiciary Complex (the Kapolei Judiciary Complex). Family members, staff, and invited guests gathered to recognize the progress and accomplishments of the girls and their families over the past year.
Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald praised the five girls for their achievements in the program, and the families for committing to be a part of the girls’ healing journey. He also offered his personal thanks to the many people who make the Oahu Girls Court possible, including Girls Court Presiding Judge Jennifer Ching, the Girls Court team, and the public and private partners who support, believe in, and hold the program participants accountable.
“The accomplishments of the 13th class alumni include improving relationships with family, maintaining sobriety, obtaining high school diplomas, becoming employed, successfully completing treatment and other programs, and giving back to the community through community service,” said Girls Court Program Coordinator Dayna Miyasaki.
Miyasaki further explained, “In Girls Court, participants do not ‘graduate’ because as they finish the program they continue to grow and evolve in their journey as young and maturing women. Through our Celebration events, we recognize the achievements of the participants who completed the program, and welcome them back to Girls Court as alumni who can work to become mentors to the incoming class of younger girls.”
Girls Court is the Judiciary’s innovative effort to stem the rising tide of female delinquency in Hawaii, where the proportion of female juvenile arrests has been significantly higher than the national average. Hawaii launched one of the nation‘s first Girls Court models in 2004 on Oahu. It has proven to be a remarkable success. Studies show that Girls Court participants have committed 88% fewer violations of the law, 98% fewer status offenses, the number of runaways has decreased by 89%, and the number of days girls remain runaways has been reduced by 68%.
Girls Court provides gender-specific programs and services that more effectively target at-risk and delinquent girls. It works on a strength-based model to develop healthy relationships among the girls and their families, return the girls to school or appropriate educational programs, and introduce the participants to employment education and other opportunities in the community.
In Girls Court, the girls and their families attend regular court hearings and meetings with the Girls Court probation officers and therapist. They also join activities that they may have never participated in on their own, such as surfing, playing bingo with the elderly, cleaning out a loi, and more. Through the Girls Court process they realize their strengths and their personal value in the bigger picture of life.
For more information on the Girls Court program, visit the Hawaii State Judiciary Girls Court web page, http://bit.ly/1ng6ACk, or the Hawaii Girls Court website at www.girlscourt.org.
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