woman bagging lettuce
FETCH students fill community-supported agriculture bags.

The Family Education Training Center of Hawaiʻi (FETCH) is offering enrichment and help building effective leadership and sustainable lifestyles for the entire family with its new Family Advantage! program and Youth Advantage! Sustainable Sciences Internship.

FETCH is part of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

The Family Advantage! program, based at the Hale Tuahine Farm located at 2727 Woodlawn Drive in Mānoa, helps families in all stages and circumstances to build sustainable lifestyles and positive family dynamics. Participant families, including children four and older, plant and maintain soil-based and hydroponic grow beds, prepare garden-fresh meals and eat them together, all while developing effective communication skills and coping strategies.

The parent group curriculum uses parenting principles based on psychotherapist Alfred Adler’s theories, which emphasize place in the community and achieving one’s goals, while children enjoy fun arts and crafts, gardening and cooking activities.

“21st-century stressors take all forms. And while the root cause of such stressors may be out of our control, our response is well within. Gardening is a relaxing activity that can aid in stress relief and promote mental health. What better way to spend your Friday evenings than gardening with the ʻohana?” said FETCH director Norman Tansey.

Tansey added, “There is so much to learn in and learn from a garden. We use gardening as a platform to support effective communication, cooperation and character building among family members, lessons that can then be implemented at home.”

The Youth Advantage! internship program, also at Hale Tuahine, pairs middle school and high school students with UH college student mentors as they build a community-supported agriculture program from the ground up. Participants meet throughout the semester and develop hands-on skills in agriculture, leadership and entrepreneurship; contribute to feeding local families and the community; and decrease stress and anxiety, while students earn community service credits and build their resumes.

Those who are interested are invited to attend any program night to experience what the programs have to offer. The Family Advantage! program meets 5–8 p.m. on Fridays and the Youth Advantage! internship meets 3–7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

For more info, contact Norman Tansey at tanseyn@gmail.com or follow FETCH on Instagram @fetchoahu.

Hale Tuahine Farm
Program participants tend their farm plots at Hale Tuahine Farm.