Some WCCC residents reunited with loved ones
Kaiu Numazawa Pacanas rarely gets to visit her mom at the Women's Community Correctional Center on Oahu because she lives on Kauai. But on Saturday, she and some of her siblings had a long awaited reunion.
Family Day at WCCC is part of an annual event called Sun Light Sun Bright, that's an extension from a Christmas celebration that's been going on at the facility for the last two decades.
"I was really really looking forward to it. I was hoping my other siblings would come too... This is the first time we got to see her after all her cancer and chemotherapy," Numazawa Pacanas said.
Mom Cheri is at the facility for drug charges. She found out she has breast cancer recently but is glad to have family support during a time of healing.
"I'm just glad my kids could come see me before if anything happens you know. It was a shock for them to see me without hair. I had long beautiful hair... When you're fighting for your life, there's nothing that can compare," she said.
The Department of Public Safety says programs like this not only help the women become better mothers, but also better people for the community during their time behind bars.
"It's important to nurture relationships and bonding between the mothers and their kids and part of the reintegration process. We don't wanna lose that when they become incarcerated so this is important for them to bringing that back together," Eric Tanaka, WCCC warden said.
More than 120 keiki and family members from Oahu and across the neighbor islands got to spend the afternoon with loved ones. There was food, entertainment and games including arts and crafts and a puppet show. The event is funded by donations from the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu. Each family day costs about $4,000 including air travel for neighbor island family members.
"They actually get to hold their children, touch their children, interact with their children and that's what's really valuable here. Not just for the families but for us to watch and see them do all those things," Dane Shinto, Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, said.
A healing touch towards a brighter future.