By Deb Marois
Parenting in today’s fast-paced world is no easy task. That’s why the Ho’oikaika Partnership has launched a campaign to support families in building resilience and break the stigma around seeking help. The effort aims to promote protective factors, foster early literacy, and strengthen family bonds while celebrating the vibrant Hawaiian culture. Additionally, the campaign seeks to reach families in remote areas like Hana, Molokaʻi, and Lāna’i.
What are “Protective Factors?”
When parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, keiki’s well-being increases and the risk of abuse is reduced. Research shows that one way to do this is by building protective factors. “Protective Factors” help keiki and youth feel nurtured and help adults paddle more smoothly through the waters of parenthood. These terms can sometimes be a bit academic, so Hoʻoikaika partners have developed family-friendly language to help describe the concepts:
- Nurturing and Attachment: “Mālama ʻOhana”
- Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: “Parenting Can Be Hard, But Can”
- Social and Emotional Competence in Children: “Show Keiki Aloha”
- Social Connections: “How You Stay”
- Parental Resilience: “First, Make Yourself Pono”
- Concrete Support in Times of Need: “No Shame”
Kalo Boy’s Adventure to Make Pono: He Huakaʻi ʻOhana
At the heart of this campaign is a captivating children’s storybook titled “Kalo Boy’s Adventure to Make Pono: He Huakaʻi ʻOhana.” This enchanting tale brings the concept of protective factors to life in a way that’s relatable and engaging for the whole family. Protective factors are like superpowers that help families navigate tough times, and include feeling loved, staying informed, building meaningful connections, staying strong, and accessing helpful resources when needed.
But here’s the real magic: the storybook immerses families in the rich Hawaiian context, using language and imagery that reflects our unique island culture. Illustrated by award-winning Native Hawaiian artist Solomon Robert Nui Enos, the book transports us into a world of wonder where families can see themselves reflected in the story and the lessons are even more meaningful. The book makes reading a joyous adventure by incorporating early literacy strategies that spark conversations and deeper connections between adults and keiki.
As you journey through the book’s pages, you’ll discover reflective questions and space to map out your families’ support network. These special features encourage family discussions and empower parents to strengthen protective factors and enhance their children’s reading skills. The book also includes QR codes that whisk you away to the Ho’oikaika Partnership website and an inspiring video called “A Journey to Healing.” But the campaign doesn’t end there! Beyond the storybook, products such as bookmarks, stickers, and posters help to reinforce the importance of protective factors.
The Hoʻoikaika Partnership is a coalition of community organizations, individuals, county, and state agencies working together to prevent child abuse and neglect in Maui County. For more information, visit www.hooikaikapartnership.com or contact Coordinator Deb Marois at 808-765-7254.