Kupa Aina

Two Mentorship Programs Receive Fundamental Support to Empower Vulnerable Native Hawaiian Youth Populations June 6, 2023

Two Mentorship Programs Receive Fundamental Support to Empower Vulnerable Native Hawaiian Youth Populations June 6, 2023

Hawaiʻi nonprofit, Partners in Development Foundation, and two of its youth-serving programs received $120,000 from Nā ʻŌiwi Kāne to provide comprehensive mentorship services focused in the areas of education, workforce development, and emotional, social, and mental health. The programs, Ka Hana Noʻeau, a youth mentorship initiative in Honokaʻa, received over $40,000; and Kupa ʻAina Farm, a 5-acre Hawaiian natural farming project in Kailua, received $80,000. 

Honokaʻa High and Intermediate School are Title I eligible schools located in a rural, primarily Native Hawaiian populated community on Hawaiʻi Island. Funding for the Ka Hana Noʻeau initiative will consist of three mentorship tracks rooted in Hawaiian culture and STEAM, including model rocket building, fine arts, and Hawaiian ethnobotany. The program partners with the schools to match students with positive adult role models to grow intellectually, interpersonally, and emotionally.

“The mentorship program provides invaluable support to participants, such as access to resources that are otherwise unavailable, especially for those struggling socially and emotionally,” said Angella Brandt, Ka Hana Noʻeau Project Coordinator. “One mentee shared that our program gave them a ‘sense of place.’ We encourage students to strive for higher education, especially because some families do not have that mindset as they struggle to make ends meet.”

The Kupa ʻAina natural farm in Kailua will use the funding to continue services to support and mentor Hawaiʻi’s most at-risk and vulnerable ʻōpio (youth ages 14-24). The youth will connect with the ʻāina while participating in services centered on workforce development, mental health, and college pathways. The farm is located on the Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center, adjacent to the Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility. Because Hawaiʻi imports more than 80% of its food, Kupa ʻAina partners with state and community organizations to focus on natural farming as a path towards sustainability, reconnecting with traditional Hawaiian practices and educating the community to transform Hawaiʻi’s food systems.

Nā ʻŌiwi Kāne is a certified Native Hawaiian Organization with a mission to grow the reach of its community impact and strengthen the Native Hawaiian community. The organization supports programs and projects focusing on transferring the skills, values, and practices of the traditional Hawaiian way of life to the most vulnerable members of the Hawaiʻi community. PIDF is Nā ʻŌiwi Kāne’s first beneficiary, from which several programs have benefited since 2005. 

“Nā ʻŌiwi Kāne is able to reach many Native Hawaiian keiki, ʻōpio and their ‘ohana with the help of PIDF and their programs. It takes a village to raise a child and together with PIDF we are doing it one keiki and ʻōpio at a time,” said Maylisajoy Kamakeeaina, Director at Nā ʻŌiwi Kāne. 

To learn more about Partners in Development Foundation and its ten free programs and services, including Ka Hana Noʻeau and Kupa ʻAina natural farm, go to pidf.org.