We Are Oceania
The mission of We Are Oceania (WAO) is to empower our Micronesian community to navigate success while honoring the integrity of their diverse heritage. The Micronesia region faces many challenges such as U.S. militarization and weapons testing, loss of land from rising ocean levels, and lack of a sustainable local food supply. An estimated 15,000 to 17,000 people have left their homes in search of a better life for themselves and their families here in Hawai‘i. They play a leading role in the fight against Covid-19 for the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) community.
WAO received 501(c)3 status in 2021 after an initial pilot grant awarded by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs designated Partners in Development Foundation as their mentor organization. WAO was created by a core group of Micronesian leaders and stakeholders in Hawai‘i whose aim is to advocate for the overall health and wellbeing of Micronesian people and communities.
Hālau Ola (House of Life), is dedicated to the needs of the Micronesian community and offers a myriad of services, such as referral, acculturation, finding employment and housing, education, health insurance enrollment, and wrap-around case management services. WAO also assists service providers, local and other immigrant populations.
WAO operates out of a one-stop shop at St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church in Kalihi. While their offices are on Oʻahu, their services are available throughout the Neighbor Islands through their Kōkua Staff on call.
For more information on We Are Oceania, visit their main website at weareoceania.org or call (808) 754-7303.
The Micronesian youth summit (MYS) rests on four pillars essential to navigating success: college readiness, career readiness, solidarity, and community readiness. students are able to attend workshops, forums, discussions, and other activities. Just as important, it allows Micronesians to talk about their history and culture.
The annual cultural celebration is an opportunity for Micronesian youth to be empowered and explore their dreams, strengths, and potentials, as well as hold conversations with Micronesian leaders, grassroot organizations, and allies in the community.
The NHPI community is the smallest represented community in the state, yet the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, WAO launched a live Helpline, a culturally and linguistically-tailored resource available in five Pacific languages, assisting individuals and their families in accessing state quarantine and isolation facilities, training, testing, and contact tracing. The helpline is available daily from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. at (808) 913-1364.
A live, online platform for language-based discussions on relevant topics and cover information about COVID-19 mitigation tips, community resources, job openings, health insurance enrollment assistance, and more in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manners. The Talk Stories feature staff from Chuuk, the Marshall Islands, Pohnpei, and Kosrae speaking their own languages to reach individuals and families who cannot access services due to lack of English proficiency.
To join or watch an Island Hopper Virtual Talk Story, go to facebook.com/WeAreOceania
Opportunity Youth Action Hui Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center
The Opportunity Youth Action Hui (OYAH) is a unique collaboration of state and nonprofit agencies at the Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center, reflecting a central campus as a puʻuhonua, or place of peace, safety, and healing for Hawaiʻi's most vulnerable youth and young adults. Services offered share the vision to empower and equip youth with the skills needed for long-term success and independent living. Our Kupa 'Aina program is a partner of this initiative. You can learn more about the other organizations involved and how to support them below.
Hale Kipa, or “House of Friendliness,” is a multi-service, fully accredited 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that specializes in working with at-risk youth and their families who often have nowhere else to turn.. Hale Kipa’s Hale Lanipōlua Assessment Center on O‘ahu is open to youth ages 12 through 17 who are victims/survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.
HYCF is the statewide juvenile prison that works closely with the courts and the Office of Youth Services to ensure that any commitment to the HYCF is a last resort—after all community-based services have been exhausted. Identification of community-based programs, such as those offered by KYFWC, as alternatives to incarceration is ongoing.
Kinai ‘Eha aims to provide an alternative education option to ‘ōpio (youth) that are in need of and seeking purpose, personal empowerment, education, Hawaiian cultural identity and connection, workforce training in construction and the trades, community service and leadership.
Olomana School, part of Hawaii Department of Education, is an alternative-education school that offers classes for students in seventh grade through twelfth grade all while giving students a fresh start in the journey for education.
Residential Youth Services and Empowerment (RYSE), a 501(c)(3) operates an access center where Hawai‘i’s street youth are assessed and referred to appropriate support services. Youth in the target range of 18-24 have access to a safe temporary living space specifically designed to address their unique needs. The access center offers coordinated programs and services to build a path towards reintegration into mainstream society.
‘Eleu is a collective of five early childhood education agencies that believe by advocating together with one voice, we can ensure that the children and communities of Hawaiʻi will continue to flourish. The organizations share expertise in Family-Child Interaction Learning. Please click the boxes below to learn more about the organizations that make up the partnership.
ʻAha Pūnana Leo strives to ensure that the Hawaiian Language lives. Rooted in their mission to drive and inspire change to ensure a living Hawaiian language in Hawaiʻi and beyond,.
ALU LIKE, Inc. is a private, non-profit service organization that has assisted Native Hawaiians in their efforts to achieve social and economic self-sufficiency. ALU LIKE, Inc. has a comprehensive range of services and activities to fill identified needs in the Native Hawaiian community, including community economic development, business assistance, employment preparation, training, library services, educational and childcare services for families with young children.
INPEACE, the Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture, is committed to improving the quality of life for Native Hawaiians through community partnerships that provide educational opportunities and promote self-sufficiency.
“Ka Huakaʻi 2021” highlights the importance of Hawaiian culture-based education as a pathway for learners to build a bright future for generations to come. PIDF President and CEO Shawn Kanaʻiaupuni worked with Kamehameha Schools to publish this assessment, now available online.
PIDF is proud to announce that their mentee organization, We Are Oceania, established independence as a 501(c)3. We are excited to maintain a close partnership and see the development of the organization as they continue to serve the Micronesian community.
We are so proud of our mentee program, We Are Oceania’s Executive Director, Josie Howard, who was selected for Hawaii Business Magazine’s “20 For the next 20,” honoring people whose talents, accomplishments and potential set them apart as emerging leaders of Hawaiʻi for the next 20 years.
Since the onset of the pandemic, PIDF jumped in to help close the gap between those who have access to resources and those who don’t. This PSA shares PIDF’s outreach and ways to support our communities.