The mentors and mentees of Partners in Development Foundation’s – Ka Hana No‘eau youth mentoring program recently celebrated their Ho‘ike 2009 by asking a question familiar to all regardless of where one lives… “Kohala Got Sustainability?”
The event, which was held at the Kohala Intergenerational Center located at Kamehameha Park and Recreation facility in Kapa‘au also called for the blessing of the program’s “sustainable garden”. The model project serves as an outdoor educational classroom for composting, organic gardening, and for the development of innovative ways to produce food for home consumption.
In addition, this year’s Ho‘ike hosted a number of well-known personalities. Daniel Akaka Jr., son of the U.S. Senator of the same name performed the blessing of the sustainable garden.
Also on hand to encourage the students to continue in their effort to bring sustainability to Hawai‘i island was His Honor the Mayor Billy Kenoi. Always candid in his approach, the Mayor reminded the audience that sustainability is a modern term for the everyday ancient Hawaiian practice we know as “Malama ‘Aina”, or caring for the land.
Malika Dudley a former Miss Hawai‘i, KGMB 9 news personality, and avid surfer, spoke to the students about her personal experiences of growing up in Hilo and the lessons she learned relative to respecting the environment in all things you do.
Lastly, actor Jason Scott Lee also counseled the students on the benefits of sustainable farming, and recalled the trials of starting his own organic farm in the volcano area of the island.
Sharing a wide-range of mentoring projects with the public, the mentorship groups had live demonstrations and poster-board displays which included: Plant Propagation and Sustainable Gardening; Small Animal Husbandry; Traditional Taro Farming; Kohala Cultural Preservation; Culinary Arts; Hawaiian Saddle Making; Traditional Hula; Industrial Technology, and; Robotics.
The students also sold Hawaiian plate lunches, and featured a silent and live auction of craft items including a Hawaiian Saddle and small livestock.
Note: The North Kohala Community Development Plan calls for 50% food sustainability within the next 10 years. Ka Hana No’eau is poised to be an integral part of this plan and will attempt various projects to facilitate the initiative.
This program is possible because of grant- funding from the US Dept. of Education, and in partnership with Partners in Development Foundation, www.pidfoundation.org.