November 20, 2021
Aloha mai kākou,
Itʻs amazing that 2021 is already coming to a close! Like everyone, we have done our best to navigate through this year and hope you all are doing well during these most challenging of times. In spite of the difficulties, we are grateful for the many highlights. Here are just a few from Kapalai we would like to share with you.
Although many businesses were adversely affected during the shutdown, we were fortunate to find a way to continue operations and meet the high demand for kalo and poi. As we close out 2021, it looks to be another record year for production with over 30,000 lbs of kalo harvested contributing to Hawaiʻi’s food security.
In regards to programming this past year, one important lesson that we learned while running our Ahupuaʻa Systems Apprenticeship (ASA) program was how vitally important it was for our 13 participants to have a safe space to connect with others and find support through their college journey. Many shared how difficult it was to be isolated in their homes while trying to navigate college online and life in general. This gave us clarity on the importance of ASA and renewed our commitment to expand the program to provide the opportunity to more students. In 2022, we will be working with Windward Community College to recruit for Cohort 4 and onboard new community organizations to offer the apprenticeship program in new locations.
One exciting development in 2021 was the completion of a traditional Hawaiian hale. Under the direction of Kupuna Earl Kawaʻa, construction was completed this summer. It was an incredible opportunity for our staff, apprentices, board members, volunteers and other organizations to learn the traditional process of building. This beautiful structure has now become the gathering place and piko of our ʻāina. It has been a pleasure to see this vision fulfilled and now have a place to properly host the many groups who visit. In August, we began to slowly host groups in our Kupuohi education and Kaiāulu community programs once again. What a blessing it has been to see the faces, hear the laughter and feel the energy of social interaction!
So what is ahead for 2022? We plan to come out of the blocks hard in January with renewed vision and intention to challenge ourselves to improve as an organization. With the help of our board and a few dedicated consultants, we have begun the process of organizational evaluation and strategic planning as we prepare to purchase 100 acres of ʻāina in Maunawili (stay tuned for the update next year!).
These exciting developments would not be possible without your kokua. It is many of you who support and encourage us to carry on with our mission to meet the most important needs in our community. During this giving season we humbly ask for you to consider sowing into the future of our organization. 100% of your donation enables Hoʻokuaʻāina to continue programs and services for at-risk youth, struggling families, students and our precious kūpuna.
Mahalo nui for your continued generosity and consideration. If we are unable to thank you in person, we send you our aloha filled with prayers of peace, health, and waiwai during this season and all the year through.
Me ke aloha nui,
Dean and Michele Wilhelm
Co-Founders and Directors