History of Teens On Call Maui
In this interview Brian recounts the fascinating story of how Teens On Call and the Paia Youth & Cultural Center came into being. Teens On Call (TOC) has provided meaningful work experience, life skills training, and personal counseling to over 1,200 at risk teenagers in Maui County since 1994. More than 100 teenagers participate each year under the supervision and guidance of job coaches, who serve as working mentors and positive role models for the teens. Many of the teens have reading and learning disabilities and have had little opportunity to develop practical work ethics or even basic work skills. Teens On Call allows these youth to practice basic problem-solving in a safe environment and helps expand social skills associated with guided, repeated hands-on experiences and working with peers to accomplish tasks.
In 1993, a core group of 25-30 teenagers were responsible for break-ins, tourist violence, harassment, serial shoplifting, and massive graffiti in Paia. The TOC founder and current program manager, Brian McCafferty, engaged these youth in paid work-training activities for four months to clean out a fire-damaged, historic two-story residence. The teenagers learned how to use tools, earned money, felt valued and within 4 months ceased their antisocial behavior. The rehabilitated house became the Pa`ia Youth & Cultural Center.
Since then, TOC has continued to provide ongoing work training experiences, job skills training and personal guidance to Maui youth. The positive hands-on learning experience with successful task completion fosters self-confidence, personal competency, and improved work skills. Affirmative, supportive role models and life skills training develop sound character values. One-on-one counseling is provided as needed, and referrals are made when appropriate. TOC strives to instill pre-employment readiness and a positive attitude towards work so that youth become responsible, productive community members.
The program manager procures work assignments from homeowners, realtors, and businesses and coordinates services which allow students to operate recycling programs. TOC provides transportation, snacks, a hearty lunch, and an hourly stipend to working youth. The program treats youth with respect. TOC does not invite back participants who do not behave well, work hard and learn skills.
TOC has active working relationships with several high schools for students in their Special Motivation Programs, Work Readiness Programs and Special Needs Programs. TOC is also developing the P?‘ia Vocational Training Center. It currently houses an aquaculture training program and an industrial arts workshop for training in woodworking, masonry and fiberglass work. TOC is working with the Department of Education to develop a program where students can spend a half-day at the training center for a semester.
TOC is highly resourceful. Seventy percent of the materials used for the Center's construction came from recycled materials. TOC's effective implementation leads to more work. For example, the University of Arizona gave TOC a grant to set up backyard aquaculture systems for 5 families. The County of Maui saw that success and granted funds for 5 more. Kamehameha Schools Maui then requested 2 systems, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted funds for another 5.