Kellogg Grant Will Enrich Teen Studies

Carol Chang
Wednesday - July 21, 2010
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Two dynamic teen programs in West Oahu are combining to push their goals even higher with a $4 million grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

MA’O Farms learned this month that it won the huge award along with Waianae High School’s Searider Productions, and now the two will merge to “synergize and deepen” their commitment to empowering youths along the Leeward coast.


The grant creates the Kauhale ‘O Wai’anae: Youth Education and Entrepreneurship Initiative, a project that will draw directly from the “positive, committed and creative work” of the youths, said Kukui Maunakea-Forth of MA’O Farms. (Maunakea-Forth also leads Waianae Community Redevelopment Corp., which established MA’O.)

“It is the youth farmers who truly are the engine that drives the organization,” she said of the Waianae organic farm. It employs local high school graduates and partners with Leeward Community College to push them on a degree path in agribusiness and related fields. They market and sell organic produce throughout the island weekly.

Likewise, Seariders Productions has added the for-profit Makaha Studios for its trained graduates, who now attract media clients from Hawaii, North America and Japan.

“This is the right time, the right place and the right people,” said WHS teacher Candy Suiso, founder and program director of Searider Productions. “As individual entities, each of us has amassed an amazing track record of programs and service, but by joining together we can be a greater force that really seeds the education transformation and change that needs to happen in Waianae.”

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