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February 27, 2014

By Lori Armbruster, Communications Director

In the Hawaiian culture, the word “Ohana” means family, which can be blood-related, adoptive or intentional. The concept emphasizes that families are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another.

When a young person enters Pacific Quest, they become part of a larger Ohana. As they discover the best in themselves, they forge new and meaningful relationships with family members, peers, their community and the natural world. These experiences leave an indelible mark on their lives and in the lives of their families.

Week after week, our staff receives letters from alumni students who reach out simply to say, “thank you” or “you made a difference in my life”. Sometimes these letters come years later as the “seeds” planted have taken time to mature and come to fruition. Some are from students who may have struggled during their stay – but have come to realize the value of their experience. While each alumni letter is unique, all share a common theme.  Alumni students and their families consistently express a desire to reconnect with one another and with the staff members who were instrumental in helping them during this step of their journey.

As our alumni venture into the world, we challenge ourselves to further support the incorporation of healthy skills and community-building concepts gathered while in our care.  Pacific Quest’s mission is rooted in true sustainable growth and it is when our students learn to engage in their communities and be of service to others, that new levels of growth may be realized. To that end, we are very excited to announce several innovative alumni events for 2014.

Pacific Quest’s Ohana Days will provide a series of experiential activities for alumni families to re-imagine the work of “incorporation” and the next step of sustainable growth in their own communities.  These community-building events focus on service, an action-oriented approach to giving back, and leaving a legacy that goes beyond self.  Ohana Days will incorporate a variety of volunteer opportunities, such as building gardens in the heart of a city, harvesting food for local food banks, or building a garden for a local school or charity, and other healthy lifestyle events. Ohana Days will also provide an opportunity for students, families and staff to reconnect and get re-inspired! This experience will broaden the support network for our alumni, encouraging community involvement, and reawakening parents and students to what it really looks like “to be the change you want to see in the world.”

Stay tuned for a formal announcement on our first Ohana Days and Alumni Reunion event, which will be held in the Bay Area, Saturday, March 22! Future dates and locations will be updated periodically on our website and Facebook page. For more information, please contact: lori@pacificquest.org.

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