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Exploring Youth Photography

By Kanoelani Davis, Honeygirl English, Shaye Lauifi — Ahupuaʻa O Molokai; Puni Ke Ola
Susana Helm, Jackie Ng-Osorio, Becka Adolpho — UH Manoa

Puni Ke Ola (PiKO) is a community-based youth program that explores how culture can promote health and prevent substance use among the youths in Native Hawaiian communities. In this afterschool program, the ʻopio will be able to connect to themselves, their ohana and their community through the use of photography. Led by Kumu Kanoelani Davis, the photo strategy aligned with Hawaiian cultural values has sparked a fun and artistic way for the kids to express themselves. Their photos emphasize culture, health, and positive youth development. The haumana then talk in small groups called ho`ala sessions, facilitated by the kumu, to strengthen the link between culture and health in their naʻau, manaʻo, and hana. We end the year in May with a hoʻike, to celebrate with the community.

Who is Puni Ke Ola? PiKO is made up of three branches. Ahupuaʻa O Molokai is the nonprofit Molokai organization that umbrellas PiKO. This year, PiKO has Shaye Lauifi as the program director, Kanoelani Davis as the kumu and Honeygirl English as the case manager. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we adjusted to the new normal of social distancing. The PiKO program now meets on Zoom until new COVID updates prove otherwise. The haumana of PiKO will be provided the tools/technology they need to take pictures and log on to meetings as they dive into the Hawaiian culture and participate in culturally immersive huakaʻi.

Puni Ke Ola translates to “life flourishes in a healthy community.” Our greatest hope is to continue the vision of Uncle Wayde Lee, Aunty Adele Lee and Aunty Vanda Hanakahi. To educate our youth of who they are and where they come from while keeping them safe and aware of the changes in the world and Hawaii. We recognize and mahalo our current funder the State of Hawaii Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division as part of a grant to the University of Hawaii at Manoa Department of Psychiatry. The UH team includes Susana Helm, Jackie Ng-Osorio, Becka Adolpho and Jaden Liu.
Ahupuaʻa O Molokai is now enrolling seventh grade and older ʻopio to join our 2020/2021 PiKO Program. Eligibility priorities are Molokai youth that live on a Hawaiian Homestead and other Native Hawaiian youth, as well as their family members. The program starts mid-October and concludes in May 2021.

To enroll your ʻopio with the PiKO program, please contact Aunty Honeygirl English (808-658-0815 or puni.ke.ola.mkk@gmail.com.) For more information or any questions and concerns about the program, please contact Shaye Lauifi (808-658-9322 or aom.shaye@gmail.com.)

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