Aloha ‘Ike brings love of learning business to schools

Lego robots, drama clubs, rocketry, aquaponics, CSI and digital media. What do all of these have in common?

They are just a few of the 127 school projects that Aloha ‘Ike, Kaua‘i Economic Development Board’s educational program, has funded in the past seven years.

Translated from Hawaiian, Aloha ‘Ike means, “to love learning.”

The Aloha ‘Ike program is a partnership between the state Department of Education and the community to enhance educational opportunities for Kaua‘i’s keiki in grades K-12.

Specifically, Aloha ‘Ike provides grants to projects that supplement academic programs in any Kaua‘i public, private, and charter school.

Aloha ‘Ike encourages teachers to expand education enrichment opportunities for their students, through the use of innovative project-based activities.

Since the program’s inception in 2005, 90 amazing teachers have stepped forward to create incredible projects at their schools.

From Kekaha Elementary to Hanalei Elementary, spanning the entire island, a total of 21 schools have participated with the Aloha ‘Ike program. In essence, approximately more than 4,000 students have benefited from their participation.

The hallmark of the program’s success centers on the creation of partnerships between the business community and schools.

We are excited about the types of partnerships we’ve been able to create between local community businesses and schools.

“From Aloha ‘Ike’s inception, many of our renown, high-profile companies have also been a major source of support with both financial donations as well as precious volunteer hours,” KEDB Chair Ed Nakaya said.

Since 2005, 60 community partners have assisted teachers directly in the classroom to enrich the projects learning experiences.

“What is truly great about Aloha ‘Ike, is that the program is fully funded through the generosity of corporate and individual donations,” KEDB Education Chair Dave Kane said.

The business community has been instrumental in helping us reach our long-term financial goal to fund educational initiatives.

Our keiki deserve the very best in terms of educational opportunities, and KEDB is glad to play a part in making that happen.

KEDB will host the eighth annual Aloha ‘Ike fundraising dinner, “A Celebration of Student Achievement,” Oct. 27 at the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa in Po‘ipu.

We invite you to celebrate student accomplishments, hear words of encouragement from U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawai‘i, Aloha ‘Ike’s honorary chair, and acknowledge the many community partnerships that have made the program successful.

This year’s event will focus on the students digital media programs.

Call KEDB at 245-6692 for ticket information.

Founded in 1984, KEDB is a nonprofit, member-based organization.

KEDB’s mission is to improve the quality of life on Kaua‘i by developing partnerships to diversify the economy, initiating efforts to educate local youth so they can succeed in the global marketplace, and nurturing key economic industries.

• Mia Ako is vice president of the Kaua‘i Economic Development Board. She can be reached at


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