Cultivating Change: Pacific Quest Teaches Sustainable Life Skills Through Hands-On Horticultural Therapy on the Big Island

September 3, 2020

Despite the outdoors playing a crucial role in Pacific Quest’s therapeutic model, all residents sleep indoors under the supervision of awake night staff. “It’s the best of both worlds,” says Admissions Director, Kellyn Smythe. “Students get the benefits of a Wilderness Therapy Program during the day, and parents can rest easy knowing they’re safely inside at night.”

Hilo, HI, Sep 3, 2020 – Practicing an integrated approach to whole-person wellness, Pacific Quest teaches sustainable life skills to adolescents and young adults dealing with anxiety, depression, isolation, and other social and behavioral challenges.

The program’s success is rooted in their unique, multifaceted approach. In addition to having an integrated psychiatric, therapeutic, and medical staff on-site, their therapeutic approach incorporates elements of Horticultural Therapy, Wilderness Therapy, and a world-class nutrition program.

At the center of it all: a whole-person sustainability mission. “There’s definitely a metaphor here,” says Suzanne McKinney, the program’s co-founder and Public Relations Director. “Sure, we’re giving our participants tools and teaching them to grow food. But we’re also giving them tools to grow in life.”

At Pacific Quest, Horticultural Therapy is not only an intervention. It is an overarching philosophy. The program is designed to address the state of hyperarousal and dysregulation within the nervous system caused by the stressors and always-on mentality of modern life. Simultaneously, it nurtures a reciprocal relationship with the natural world.

The sustainable farming practice directly supports the program’s ground-breaking nutritional program. The Pacific Quest base diet is a perfectly portioned whole foods anti-inflammatory nutrition plan with mixed proteins, little if any processed food, and plenty of organic fruits and vegetables—many of which are grown on their own organic farm.

The horticultural experience at Pacific Quest is founded on the idea that individuals seek out purposeful work. Unlike any other outdoor therapeutic program, students at Pacific Quest have an opportunity to learn about reciprocity by working together to grow the food they eat while cultivating practical skills that are transferable to daily, modern life.

Visit Pacific Quest’s website to learn more about how they’re Cultivating Change through an integrated approach to wellness.

About Pacific Quest:

Pacific Quest began 16 years ago with the mission to provide hope to parents and struggling adolescents and young adults by facilitating life-changing experiences on the Big Island of Hawaii. The hybrid wilderness/residential therapy program works with adolescents and young adults struggling with anxiety, depression, isolation, substance misuse, and trauma.