Center on Disability Studies offers free mental health community programs

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Charmaine Crockett, (808) 956-7539
Special Programs Coordinator, College of Education
Posted: Feb 27, 2012

What do cooking classes, storytelling, the Youth Advocacy Leadership Institute, spring 2012 and FREE have in common? The common denominator is they are part of a unique program, Living to Our Full Potential, whose aim is to educate, illuminate and entertain through April 2012.
With costs soaring for cooking classes, ‘how to classes’ and training institutes, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa's Center on Disability Studies is hosting an innovative, exciting, free program for Hawaiʻi’s youth with mental health challenges and their families.
The Living to Our Full Potential program will help participants achieve overall well-being of their minds, bodies, and emotions. With national statistics placing 20 years as an average amount of time that a person with a mental challenge loses in comparison to someone without a mental health challenge, this program has the potential to offer years added onto fellow community members’ lives by giving them healthier alternatives to unhealthy lifestyles infused with fast food, ineffective communication, and complacency.
These free events within the program, like storytelling workshops, cooking classes, and a Youth Leadership Empowerment academy, will take place from February through April and will be taught by  restaurants like JJ’s Bistro & French Pastry and Aloha Salads.The program will also showcase some of the nation’s most dynamic self-advocates, like Linea Johnson, author of the soon-to-be-released book, Perfect Chaos, and Keith Johnson, artist and pioneer of SoulTouchin’ Experiences.
Living to Our Full Potential aims to create sustainable lifestyles that include healthy choices, like eating healthier meals rather than processed fast food, knowing how to communicate  ideas effectively, shown by master storyteller Jeff Gere through storytelling workshops and capacity building to empower community members to take active leadership in making positive changes in their own lives as well as within their communities, through the Youth Leadership Empowerment Academy. Also highlighted in the Youth Leadership Empowerment Academy is the opportunity for youth to voice their ideas in the first ever Open Mic Series, and share their ideas with other attendees.
All of Hawaiʻi’s youth are encouraged to sign up and participate in these events. Scholarships are available for those living on Oʻahu and on the neighbor islands who wish to attend the Youth Leadership Empowerment Academy, which will take place at the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center. For more information or to register to be a part of any of these events, visit: