Summer 2019 marked the beginning of the pilot program with our first participants. Now with 1 semester under their belt, they are well on their way to achieving their goals. We have been working closely with WCC staff and counselors as well as with the participants to ensure that we provide the support needed for these youth to succeed.
Through ASA, students receive hands-on work experience, mentoring, and leadership development while working alongside peer mentors and experienced life coaches. Within the 2-year program, apprentices will receive well-rounded training and exposure to small business management, Hawaiian culture, agriculture, natural resource management, entrepreneurship, food and ahupua’a systems. In addition, they attend full-time courses at WCC to work towards earning an associate’s degree with a specialized certificate focused on ahupuaʻa systems. As a team, we have successfully submitted our proposed “Ahupuaʻa Systems: Indigenous Resource Management & Food Production” certificate to WCC’s curriculum committee for approval.
Our first official cohort will begin in the summer of 2020 with heavy recruiting in the Windward High Schools this spring. If you know of any graduating seniors who might be interested in pursuing higher education with hands-on experience in the loʻi, send them our way. Applications are located here.
Here’s what those currently in the ASA program had to say when asked, “How has Hoʻokuaʻāina impacted your life?”
“It showed me a whole new world I wasn’t introduced to in my childhood… and it showed me a true work discipline. It created a work environment so that way I can learn new skills so that way I can take it out to the real world.”
“Hoʻokuaʻāina has impacted my life in many ways. For the most part, the message that has gotten to me throughout this process was self-reflection. Uncle Dean has really stressed upon that- to always check what you’re doing and see what you could do better. I never really thought that I could do better in some of the stuff or how I carry my life, but it was good. It’s good to reflect…”