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Maui Youth Transform Pāʻia Wall into Mural

April 9, 2014, 5:08 PM HST · Updated April 10, 11:11 AM
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Photo courtesy MEO Youth Services.

Photo courtesy MEO Youth Services.

By Wendy Osher

A wall in Pāʻia that was repeatedly vandalized and plagued by weeds, bottles, and trash, was transformed into a mural by youth from Maui Economic Opportunity.

The agency’s Youth Services department, teamed up with Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company to share a message on the wall of “amazing alternatives from the use of drugs or alcohol.”

“Our hopes were that if we used the youth to paint a mural of positive activities and a positive message than it would prevent future vandalism attempts and promote positive healthy activities while reminding the community about the history of Pāʻia and of Maui,” said MEO program specialist Cassi Yamashita in an agency press release.

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Yamashita described the wall at the Pāʻia Mill site as a “historical landmark” and said it was being overlooked by the community.

Leaders with the program say they sought county permission to paint the wall, while HC&S offered to pay for the supplies needed.

“The pictures of activities that were selected for the mural are cultural or island activities that most locals can relate to,” said Yamashita. ‘Through this mural we hope to gain a stronger sense of local pride from the community.”

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According to the agency website, the MEO Youth Services program “provides youth with assistance to succeed in school and life through fun-filled opportunities to learn life skills, prepare for the workforce, and serve the community. The prevention of underage drinking, substance abuse, tobacco use, teenage pregnancy, and teenage suicide is consistently blended with youth program activities.”

The program is funded through the county Department of Housing and Human Concerns, and the state Department of Health, Alcohol and Abuse division.

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