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Happening at HYC

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By Jeannette Soon-Ludes

HONOKAʻA, HAWAIʻI - The Hāmākua Youth Foundation today announced a grant award totaling $50,000 that will support the Native Hawaiian community through the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) COVID-19 Impact and Response Grant. The grant will help to reinforce and strengthen Native Hawaiians’ connection with ‘ohana (family), moʻomeheu (culture) and ʻāina (land and water). 

With a $50,000 OHA grant award, Hāmākua Youth Foundation will embark on a year-long effort to support Native Hawaiian families from Kukuihaele to Laupahoehoe. Through this partnership, keiki at the Hāmākua Youth Center will receive academic support while also participating in enrichment programs designed to share with youth the connections between Native Hawaiian environmental kinship, relationships between people and ʻāina, and awareness of the multicultural community of Hāmākua. 


Māhealani Maikuʻi, HYC Program Director, shares that the OHA COVID-19 Impact and Response Grant is important for helping youth safely reconnect with each other. She explains this sense of extended family is important even as HYC programs support caregivers at home, “We are an extended family that help mālama keiki while parents are at work. It is an honor to care for their most precious possessions as parents return to work so they can support their families.”

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This award also supports direct food assistance to enrolled families and community members by providing culturally relevant meal bags that connect youth learning with family well-being. “Our programs support the well-being of the entire family because we make sure homework is complete, keiki feel connected, and food can be put on the table,” says Maikuʻi.


The purpose of the COVID-19 Impact and Response Grant is to serve the Native Hawaiian lāhui in alignment with the strategic foundations, directions, and outcomes of 15-year Mana i Mauli Ola Strategic Plan.

About the Hāmākua Youth Foundation

Hāmākua Youth Center is dedicated to the children and young adults of the Hāmākua Coast. We began serving youth in 1996 when a grassroots group of community members saw the need for youth to have a safe place during non-school hours. For 13 years, the YWCA supported and sponsored the youth center. In 2009, the Hāmākua Youth Foundation, Inc. was established as a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization to support the the Hāmākua Youth Center in a new phase of growth in the grassroots mission to create nurturing and dynamic youth-centered activities for youth from six to eighteen years of age.


About the Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Established by the state Constitutional Convention in 1978, OHA is a semi-autonomous state agency mandated to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians. Guided by a board of nine publicly elected trustees, OHA fulfills its mandate through advocacy, research, community engagement, land management and the funding of community programs. Learn more at


About OHA’s Grants Program

OHA’s Grants Program supports non-profit organizations whose projects and programs serve the Native Hawaiian community and align with OHA’s Strategic Plan. For more information about the Grants Program, please visit

And as always, please CONTACT US by email or call (808) 775-0976 if you are interested in enrolling your keiki in our 2023-2024 programs. 

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