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Keiki to Career Kaua‘i gets $50K grant from Learning Coalition

LIHU‘E — A new cross-sector youth development initiative called Keiki to Career Kaua‘i has received $50,000 from The Learning Coalition to support creation of a three-year action plan. Work on the action plan gets under way this week, according to a news release.

More than 25 groups have worked together on the creation of Keiki to Career since August 2011, the release states. The initiative is creating an innovative system of services and supports that foster the academic, social, emotional and physical development of children, youth and young adults.

The action plan being developed will network preschools, K-12 and higher education, youth programs, families, and business to create a holistic, integrated system of learning and supports so young people from cradle to career are “ready to learn and ready for life,” the release states. It is designed to ensure readiness at each key transition point in a young person’s life to enhance success and well-being.

Kaua‘i’s Department of Education Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki said, “It is truly a breath of fresh air when there is honest support for the work we need to do for our youth on Kaua‘i. Kaua‘i is a very special place where leaders of organizations and agencies, business and community members can come together for the purpose of supporting our children and families. We cannot do this alone. It takes a community to raise a child.”

Matt Lorin, director of The Learning Coalition, praised the efforts on Kaua‘i.

“What folks on Kaua‘i are doing is quite profound. They are actually going back to the future by rebuilding the weave that underpinned successful pre-contact Hawaiian society,” Lorin said. “It isn’t just rhetoric. It is potentially paradigm shifting. It is a demonstrated governance and resource management structure for these islands, aligned with this place.”

The collaboration includes schools (public, private and charter), public agencies, nonprofits, families and businesses. Kaua‘i Planning and Action Alliance (KPAA) serves as the backbone or “anchor” organization. The various entities are working together through aligned goals, services and evaluation tools along with a shared vision and mission, the release states.

“Unified community engagement to support the keiki of Kaua‘i is an innovative way to maximize progress and effectiveness,” said Diane Zachary, president and CEO of KPAA. “There is an urgency to undertake this process given the academic and social needs of the island’s children and youth.  We see this as a long-term effort and we hope to engage the support and interest of the entire community to make a significant difference in the lives of children.”

The vision of this initiative is an island community where Kaua‘i’s keiki through young adults are healthy, competent, confident and caring, the release states. The mission is to unite the community in nurturing and developing Kaua‘i’s young people from keiki to career so they are ready to learn and ready for life.

“It is both exciting and promising to see the way in which the different facets of the Kaua‘i community have come together around this project: DOE, KCC, social service agencies, etc.,” said Helen Cox, chancellor of Kaua‘i Community College. “This means we can truly impact the future of the youth on Kaua’i.”

To learn more about the initiative, contact Zachary at KPAA at 632-2005.

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