Youth Leadership Program
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 Ka'ala 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:
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 Ka'ala Youth Leadership program, we reconnect children and young adults with their land, environment, culture, family, community, and self-worth.
Through empowering youth we've seen a complete transformation which contributes to everything. Our reconnection process gives back value that is somehow lost with the chaos of modern day life.
The Ka'ala Youth Leadership Program
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
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!
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.
• 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
Top (left to right): Karli Enos, Chelby Rosa, Camille Cabang, Kanoa Maldenado, Isaac Mataimu, Amara Sunshine Odom, Kawika Vincent
Middle (Hunched over): Portia Escuadro
Bottom (left to right): Eric Enos, Jasmine Kamālie Robello, Ashman Kahiwalani Kyle
Project Director: Jody Pihana
Project Coordinator: Kilika Bennett
Project Assistant: Ilikeaokala Chin Chang Laung
Project Support: Harley Kontnier (AK)
Partners: Pals & Places
The KAALA 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 Hawaii Medical Service Association.