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Native Hawaiian Enrichment Program Makes ‘Profound Difference’

March 13, 2022, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated March 13, 10:35 AM
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A University of Hawaiʻi program aimed at providing direct access and a bridge between the Native Hawaiian community and higher education is being honored for its efforts.

Nā Pua Noʻeau UH-Mānoa received the 2022 Hawaiʻi Children’s Action Network “Champions for Children Unsung Hero” award, which honors individuals who made a profound difference for keiki in their community. NPN Program Director Kinohi Gomes and Program Assistant Lisa Letoto-Ohata beat out more than 90 nominees.

HCAN honored the program’s dedication to Hawaiʻi’s keiki and their ʻohana.

“Nā Pua Noʻeau UH Mānoa has developed and tested virtual programs containing hands-on and interactive culture-based learning that is rooted in cultural identity,” said Letoto-Ohata in a press release. “Using the ʻohana as the backbone of learning and development, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), literacy and college and career pathways are integrated into each session.”

Gomes and Letoto-Ohata will be honored at the HCAN Champions for Children annual fundraiser and awards ceremony on April 6 at The Royal Hawaiian hotel.

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NPN, which is part of UH-Mānoa’s Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge and Native Hawaiian Student Services, is focused on increasing the number of Native Hawaiian students who attend and graduate from a UH campush. It has conducted programs for students in grades PK-12 since 1989. Centers are stationed at UH-Mānoa, UH-Hilo, UH-Maui College, Kauaʻi Community College and UH-West Oʻahu.

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NPN provides haumāna of all ages along with their ʻohana a plethora of first-class learning opportunities ranging from visual and culinary arts, literacy and STEM.

HCAN is a nonprofit organization committed to advocating for children and addressing the root causes of poverty and inequity, developing public policies that help children and their families.

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