New Humanities Program to Engage Prison Inmates with Sense of Community

HONOLULU—As part of our commitment to create opportunities for all citizens to gather, discuss and build community, we are pleased to announce the pilot series of Try Think, an innovative new discussion program for incarcerated individuals to reflect on current events and talk openly about their thoughts and feelings about the cultural, political and social issues that define our world today.

“This program allows some of our most socially isolated and challenged citizens a chance to think about their own and other beliefs and assumptions about community, civility and civic responsibility,” said HCH Executive Director Bob Buss.

The pilot program started in January and runs through March at the Women’s Community Correctional Center on O‘ahu. Participants come together for eight sessions—co-facilitated by Rob Chang, HCH Motheread/Fatheread® coordinator, and Dr. Tammy Jones from Philosophy for Children (p4c Hawai‘i)—to discuss a variety of contemporary topics that focus on the theme of “Community and Culture.” At each meeting, they are asked to look at how cultural values and perceptions affect how they think about community and their role in society.

Discussions are built around the Motheread/Fatheread® approach to self empowerment with aspects of the Philosophy of Children curriculum with Chang and Jones offering insight and guiding critical engagement throughout each session. “We want our Try Think participants to engage in meaningful, thought-provoking conversations that will stretch their minds beyond the walls in which they find themselves,” said Chang.

Try Think is a program of the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, which supports and promotes the exchange of ideas, stories and traditions to improve communities and to encourage participation in civic life.

To learn more about this program and how to bring it to your community, contact Rob Chang at (808) 732-5402, ext. 3, or

The Hawai’i Council for the Humanities is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect people with ideas that broaden perspectives, enrich lives and strengthen communities. In addition to its grants program, HCH conducts educational programs, including Hawai’i History Day and Motheread/Fatheread® Hawai‘i.