Kaʻala Aloha ʻĀina Leadership Academy

K.A.A.L.A. Youth Internship

The Kaʻala Aloha ʻĀina Leadership Academy (K.A.A.L.A.) is a high school internship program offered by Kaʻala Farm Inc. to High School students of the Waiʻanae moku (district). This two year work and learn program focuses on building youth leaders who are grounded in the indigenous culture of Hawaiʻi, are intimately connected to their ʻāina aloha (beloved land), and who are willing to take on the kuleana (responsibility and privilege) of being the future caretakers of their community.

The Kaʻala Youth Leadership Program is designed to help grow today's youth into community and business leaders. We achieve this mission by targeting two core areas:

  • Disconnections
  • Reconnections

Throughout our past programs we've discovered that young adults become disconnected from their families, culture, community, and environment from a wide range of "dis-connectors" which include drug abuse, alcohol abuse, miscommunication, dis-harmony within the family, no stewardship of the community or environment which contributes to pollution, and much more.

Through the K.A.A.L.A. Internship Program, we reconnect children and young adults with their land, environment, culture, family, community, and self-worth.



Empowering youth leads to a complete transformation which contributes to all aspects of life. Our reconnection process gives back value that is somehow lost with the chaos of modern day life.


The Kaʻala Youth Leadership Program

First Year

The first year of the internship program is dedicated towards establish a cultural foundation in Hawaiian worldview, traditional values, and connection to place. The summer session curriculum weaves together aspects of three major components:

ʻIke Kuʻuna (Traditional Hawaiian Knowledge)
- Involves learning about traditional Hawaiian worldview and traditional Hawaiian practices/trades

ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Language, Thought, & Expression)
- Involves learning about how ka poʻe kahiko (people of old) expressed themselves and articulated their daily lives

Aloha ʻĀina (Connection to Place)
- Involves building an intimate connection to the Waiʻanae moku through moʻolelo (history & story) and ʻike ʻāina (knowledge of the land)
- Involves taking on the kuleana of being a productive contributor to the community

Second Year

In year two of the internship, interns will begin to assume a youth leadership role in their community. After establishing a cultural foundation and a deeper connection to place in year one, interns will now take on the kuleana of identifying an issue in their community, and implementing a solution in the form of a youth-led group project.

Photos of our Leadership Program in Action!

ʻOhana Workshops

The K.A.A.L.A. internship program also includes an ʻohana component. Following the summer session of year one, interns and their ʻohana members will be asked to attend monthly ʻohana workshops. Each workshop will feature a traditional Hawaiian practice (lei making, lauhala weaving, taro farming, lāʻau lapaʻau, etc…) and will provide families with the opportunity to learn together as a unit. After attending the workshops, each ʻohana will select the practice that most interests them, and will be provided with the basic tools necessary to carry on the practice as a new family tradition.

Program Requirements

Interns must:

• Reside in the Waiʻanae moku
• Be a High School Sophomore or Junior
• Commit to and actively participate in all program sessions and activities
• Bring an open mind
• Have a family that is willing to participate in monthly ʻOhana Workshops


K.A.A.L.A. Staff and Partners

Project Staff

Project Director: Jody Pihana
Project Coordinator: Kilika Bennett
Project Assistant: Ilikeaokala Chin Chang Laung
Project Support: Harley Kontnier (AK)

Partners: Pals & Places

Tammy Jones
Loke Wakinekona
Kay Fukuda

The K.A.A.L.A. youth leadership program is funded by a grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) Native Youth Initiative for Leadership, Empowerment, and Development (ILEAD) program. With support from Hawaiʻi Medical Service Association.

We Need Your Help!

We’re looking to expand the Kaʻala Youth Leadership Program. We want to make positive changes in young people’s lives today and better our environment and community by doing so.
Any contribution that you can make to this effort will go a long way. Monetary donations provided by you and other individuals and organizations will pay for materials, equipment, transportation, technical assistance, and nourishment for the Kaʻala Youth Leaders and our program for positive change.
Mahalo to all who have supported us and Aloha ʻĀina