Sunrise Farm Community of Maui: A Program of the La’a Kea Foundation

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Sunrise Farm Community of Maui is an intentional community where adults with developmental disabilities live, learn and work in an atmosphere of care and respect.

Inspired by the many life-sharing communities worldwide, Sunrise Farm Community includes residents and day program participants, trained house parents, staff (known as coworkers), educators, and short- and long-term volunteers. The village is located on 12 acres of farmland, just outside of Paia on the island of Maui, Hawaii.

Sunrise Farm Community is operated by the La’a Kea Foundation, a charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the mission and ensures responsible community operations. The La’a Kea Foundation provides the space and support for the program, and is guided by its vision to:

  • Recognize the inherent dignity of every person
  • Discover, support and enhance the potential and meaningful contribution of each person
  • Assist and encourage each person with developmental disabilities to make his or her own life within the context of family, community and society
  • Foster and opportunity for each individual to do meaningful work
  • Engage in environmentally sound practices that include land stewardship and organic farming techniques.

Recognizing that island residential programs currently serve less than 5 percent of the population in need, the County of Maui partnered with the La’a Kea Foundation to provide the land and to collaborate in supporting adults with developmental disabilities.

“Every human being, regardless of
handicap, has a perfectly formed spirit
and an individual destiny to fulfill.”

—Dr. Rudolph Steiner, Austrian scientist and philosopher

We believe
that every
person,
regardless of
their
ability
or
disability,
needs friendship,
a consistent
and supportive
social
environment,
meaningful
work and
opportunities
for creative
expression.

Community Living

Sunrise Farm Community of Maui is an intentional community in its truest sense. It unites a group of people dedicated to sharing the same basic values—respect for one another, stewardship for the land, and recognizing the potential that lives within every human, regardless of his or her ability.

At Sunrise Farm, home life is the heart of our program. The community fosters a family atmosphere, where the house parents and coworkers live and work as an Ohana, side by side with the residents of the village. Coworkers and volunteers assist residents in managing the household cooking and cleaning, and, along with program administrators, plan social, artistic and vocational events and opportunities.

Within the next seven years, we aim to build homes for up to 50 adults with special needs, who reside along with necessary care providers and their families. Each home complex will provide a comfortable living space for nine to twelve community members, including house parents who supervise each home environment, as well as coworkers, who share direct care responsibilities for residents and day students.

At Sunrise Farm Community, the environment allows those who are in need of special care—and those who provide it—to relate to each other as companions rather than simply clients and professionals.

Meaningful Work

Within Sunrise Farm Community, adults with special needs can find opportunities that may be otherwise lost to them. The village consists of homes, farm buildings, greenhouses, orchards, craft studios and multipurpose buildings. Residents and day program participants engage in productive work developed for their skill level and interests in farming, crafts, cooking, gardening, landscaping or building. Everyone at Sunrise Farms knows that the work they do directly contributes to a greater whole and this makes sharing meals together and working in community an experience that is rich in a sense of equality and mutual respect.

Our signature program is cultivating six of the 12 acres of land for farming. Sunrise Farm Community creates a healthy social and ecological balance within its unique island environment. We approach the stewardship of the land using the principles of organic farming and sustainable agriculture.

Opportunities to interact with the local community abound. Sunrise Farm Community will feature a farmer’s market and an educational walking trail, built and maintained by residents and open to the public. Programs like these not only provide meaningful work for the residents and day program participants, but also create a bridge between the farm and the community of Maui. In the spirit of inclusiveness, we will invite the public to take part in our day programs, tour the farm and its market, and if they wish, volunteer at the village.

“We try to awaken in anyone who lives in the village the fact of the community needs…we are all responsible together for how we create our life here in the village.”
—Richard Neal, Camphill Copake executive director

Admissions Information

We welcome your interest in Sunrise Farm Community of Maui, and invite you or your loved one to join us in our home community or day program.

We admit residents and day participants on a rolling basis throughout the year, depending on availability. General guidelines for admissions are as follows:

  • Adults age 18 and over with mental retardation and/or developmental disability
  • Able to participate in self care
  • Life experience past school preferred—at least three to six months
  • Active personal choice to be at the village
  • Defined expectations of parent(s) or guardian(s)
  • Most recent school and medical report, along with a psychological evaluation
  • Resident of Maui preferred, although others will be considered.
  • People who pose a danger to others are not eligible.

To be admitted as a resident, Sunrise Farm Community prefers applicants to participate as a member of the day program for at least six months in advance, if possible. The applicant must meet everyone in the community and get to know them before becoming a resident.

As part of the admissions process for both residents and day program participants, Sunrise Farm may require that the applicant submit an application and two letters of recommendation. We interview applicants on two occasions—the first time with their parent(s) or guardian(s), and the second time, on their own.

Although we follow these general guidelines for admission, Sunrise Farm Community appreciates that every situation is unique. Therefore, we consider every applicant based on his or her own individual circumstances.

Fees- The Sunrise Farm Community receives operating income from:
Families- privately paying tuition
Government- County, State and Federal funding programs
Tax-deductible charitable contributions

Inquiries should be directed to the Administrative Offices at:

Sunrise Farm Community of Maui
PO Box 790994
Paia, HI 96779
808/281-3463
www.laakea.org

Volunteer and Employment Opportunities

Coworkers and volunteers are vital to the success of our community. As colleagues and coworkers, you have the opportunity to give of your time and talent, and benefit from the rich diversity and shared challenges of community life.

As our community grows, so will our need for coworkers.

We continually seek house parents, residential and day program coworkers and educators, as well as nurses, administrative and facilities managers, students and more. As part of our culture of respect and care, we aspire to match our coworkers and volunteers to their expertise and interests—allowing the entire community to enjoy work that is meaningful to them.

We hope to also provide student-learning opportunities and continuing education credit for adult volunteers. We look forward to partnering with universities, colleges and companies to offer internships and adult education programs. Contact us for more information.

If you or someone you know is interested in employment or volunteer work with Sunrise Farm Community, we want to hear from you. Please contact our administrative office for current opportunities at 808/281-3463. You can also visit us online at www.laakea.org.

How You Can Give

Imagine a world where you didn’t fit in…where you had no place to live or work, and little hope at living a life that matters.

For adults with developmental disabilities, there is no imagining. Many spend their lives feeling lonely and isolated, without proper care or purpose. They face a system that is often unforgiving, and at worst, apathetic. When they look to others for direction or friendship, people tend to look away.

Without a place to go, and without a community of caregivers and others like them, these adults can at times present concern for their aging parents, who may not be able to give them the care they once could.

At Sunrise Farm Community of Maui, we provide a safe haven for adults with special needs, and a solution for their families. Within a community that they themselves create and maintain, our residents and day participants live productive and meaningful lives.

At Sunrise Farm Community, we are changing hundreds of lives for the better. But we cannot do it without your help.

Sunrise Farm Community, a program of the La’a Kea Foundation depends on charitable contributions from people like you—individuals, foundations, sponsors and corporate giving programs. Because we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, all donations are tax-deductible.

Consider this: The special needs population of Maui County is estimated at more than 1500 (approximately 10 percent of the State of Hawaii). More than 500 of these adults are developmentally disabled and desperately in need. Yet there is long-term, residential care for less than 5 percent of people in need, and only limited vocational opportunities. With your help, Sunrise Farm Community is changing that.

Join us in our mission to give Maui’s developmentally disabled adults the chance to live the life they deserve…one of value and vocation, dignity and care.

Please don’t look the other way. Contact us today.

Sunrise Farm Community of Maui
PO Box 790994
Paia, HI 96779
808/281-3463
www.laakea.org

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