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New Kohala Schools Program Targets At-Risk Teenage Boys

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The donor-advised Nā ʻŌiwi Kāne Fund of the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation has awarded a grant of $18,150 to the Hawaiian nonprofit Partners in Development Foundation (PIDF). The Fund aims to empower Native Hawaiians through programs focusing on transferring the traditional Hawaiian way of life to the most vulnerable members of our communities.

A fund of the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation has awarded a grant to a new project by Partners in Development Foundation, the Piha me ka Pono Project, aimed at mentoring teenage boys. Courtesy photo.

The grant will go to PIDF’s latest project, Piha me ka Pono, a new initiative at the Kohala Schools Complex on Hawaiʻi Island that cultivates partnerships to bring needed academic, health, and social support services for the students and their families.

“The Complex’s three schools are Title I eligible and it has been recognized that so many of the students are coming to school with excess baggage,” says Alison Masutani, PIDF vice president of operations and the program manager for Pili a Paʻa. “Unless we help to remove that baggage, no matter how strong the instruction is, the students will have difficulty learning.”

That ‘baggage’ Masutani is referring to includes poverty, food insecurity, and poor physical, mental or emotional health. One of the project’s goals is to increase academic achievement of disadvantaged and underserved students through the development of after school enrichment programs that provide positive alternatives for students’ free time. Support from the Nā ʻŌiwi Kāne Fund will go towards two different mentorship programs: sports conditioning and music.

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The Piha me ka Pono Project is an offshoot of the existing Pili a Paʻa program, which was created to build teachers’ skills in instructional delivery in order to raise student achievement, particularly for the Native Hawaiian students, and it is also at the Kohala Schools Complex.

To learn more about Partners in Development Foundation, go online.

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