Governor Lingle attended the 18th commencement ceremony for the Juvenile Drug Court program, where she offered her congratulations to the program’s six graduates.
Drug Court Graduates Receive Fresh Start
“I hope today you will recognize how proud everyone is of your accomplishment. That we know what you’ve been through, how hard it was and that it wasn’t a straight line,” the Governor said.
“I wanted to be here myself to tell you that there are so many other people who took the easy way out and the easy way would have been to continue down a road of bad choices and continue to get into trouble, to one day perhaps end up in a prison where others could make your decisions for you… but you chose a harder road, a road where your life is in your own hands and I wanted to be here to congratulate you and to let you know that I’m proud of you.”
Governor Lingle told the youth of her recent experience interviewing a candidate for a judgeship who grew up under challenging circumstances at the state’s Mayor Wright Housing Project.
“He made a decision for his own life,” the Governor said. “It would have been easy to go the other way [and pursue an easy life of crime]; but he made the harder decisions, he worked hard and he sacrificed.”
The Governor urged the youth to follow his example.
“Here you are. You have your whole life ahead of you. Your life is what you make of it, not where you grow up, not who your parents are. The only thing that matters is the decisions that you make.”
To qualify for graduation, clients must be clinically discharged from the Kalihi YMCA, where they served in a program a minimum of four months. The program consists of random drug testing; substance abuse counseling; field trips to hear presentations from prisoners on the dangers of drug abuse; and community service, such as painting over graffiti at bus stops, stream clean-ups or cleaning the decks of the USS Missouri.