The Kōkua a Puni Summer Enrichment Program (SEP), designed for community college students transferring to UH Mānoa, was honored to participate in the August access to Kaho’olawe. Nine SEP students from diverse academic backgrounds, ranging from pre-med to Hawaiian language and Hawaiian Studies joined a group of twenty participants to focus on Ala Loa trail blazing and building. Each SEP student is driven to achieve academic success by a desire to serve their Hawaiian community.
One of the messages that has come to light during conversations following the huaka’i is that Kaho’olawe gave these students (as well as the kumu and myself) a valuable re-grounding of sorts. Learning more about Kahoolawe’s story along with the mālama ʻāina work that was done while on the island gifted the students with new perspectives and insights on the critical interdependency between the health of a people, their culture, and their land. We understand that the accesses to Kaho’olawe that PKO facilitates take a lot of personal time, organization, and resources and we appreciate their sacrifice. PKOʻs dedication to the land and community along with the insights gained through the work and time spent on Kaho’olawe have in turn renewed our sense of dedication to our studies and our work in the community and we mahalo PKO for that.
-Submitted by Kōkua a Puni Enrichment Coordinator Pearl Wu