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A Day in the Life

Pacific Quest’s adolescent program operates on tranquil gardens in the lush region of Ka’u on Hawaii’s Big Island. Our proximity to the vast beauty of the southernmost point of the United States, coupled with the historical and cultural significance of the surrounding community, make this the ideal setting for experiential education and healing.

Life at Pacific Quest is a community living experience, providing students an opportunity to practice essential life skills in an environment which allows them to be both comfortable in their community and challenged by the world around them. This dichotomy is essential for growth. At PQ, we provide a structured environment with room to practice and master new skills, achieve individual goals and make personal choices. Students are held to high standards of accountability and responsibility from the moment they arrive in Hawaii.

Days are designed to support whole person wellness and therapeutic growth through various components, including: self-care and hygiene, organic gardening, meal preparation, personal reflection, individual and group therapy, group initiatives, peer communication, journaling, exercise and movement, academic coursework, goal development and evaluation, wellness education and community service. Each student has an individualized treatment plan that reflects personalized goals in each of these daily activities.

At the beginning of their journey, adolescents exercise an exploration of their strengths and responsibilities in their new environment. Students learn the basics of self care as they adjust to their new surroundings. They begin to learn about the proper use of garden instruments, and how to harvest and prepare whole foods for meals. Students are also given time to acclimate and reflect on the journey that brought them to Pacific Quest.

As students master these initial skills, they begin to look at their unique responsibility to the process of change. They set goals related to their personal roles in the community. Students also explore the roles they play in a group and how these roles affect the people around them. The process of learning through experience is a process of trial and error. Highly experienced program staff guide students throughout this process, providing support, direction and constructive feedback to address areas of challenge.

The basic skills acquired in the first few days of the program are put to increasingly greater and more complex use as they test and experiment the utilization of these skills in specific community roles. At this point in the program, students explore how to manage their role in the community with decreasing staff direction. Students assume greater responsibility for managing their daily schedule, garden chores, exercise routines, nutrition, academic curriculum and reflection time. Staff members remain highly engaged and present as mentors to further challenge and encourage growth. As students begin taking greater responsibility for themselves they become more fully engaged members of the community.

During the final phase of the program, students participate in a Rite of Passage experience to honor their transition and celebrate their personal growth journey. Students participate in group activities and personal projects during this time to claim their growth, embrace their unique strengths and honor challenges they will face as they continue to navigate adolescence.

Students depart Pacific Quest with an individualized transition plan, complete with all of the necessary tools to help them transfer skills to their next setting and beyond. This portable set of skills can be transferred to any environment with a profound sense of accomplishment.