January 2021: Reflect, Recenter, Rebuild

January 1, 2021
January 2021 Newsletter

The Journey from Spring to Summer

Many significant time markers have passed in just the couple months since our last newsletter – in the Gregorian calendar we flowed from 2020 to 2021, Winter Solstice (Ke Alanui Polohiwa a Kanaloa) marked the point at which the Sun is at the furthest point South in our Hawaiʻi skies, and on that day a great conjunction of Saturn (Mākulu) and Jupiter (ʻIao) occurred for the first time in 800 years. In our personal and professional lives, we continue our journey of inspiration, challenge, and growth, and share highlights with you below.

2020 will be known as the year that challenged us in many ways. Sometimes we grew, sometimes we had the wind knocked out of us, and always we learned. At times it felt like the very foundation of what we thought was solid ground gave way beneath us, revealing gaps and opportunities we could more clearly see in this disrupted time.

As you continue on in your day beyond this time spent with us here in our newsletter, let us look to these first lāʻau and ʻole moons of 2021 and pause to consider – What do you hope to find on your plate and table this year? What needs to be planted and nurtured in order to yield that goal? What needs to be weeded out and leveled in order to stabilize our practices?

How will you mālama yourself, ʻāina and community, enriching the precious resources from which we grow our ALOHA and prosperity for all?

It is indeed a time of taking mindful and deliberate steps along the journey, big and small. And a time for embracing the joys and wisdom offered to us through a smile, a letter, a phone call, or a silent walk in the world accompanied by the more-than-living. We hope to meet you (often) along the collective path of building foundations of ALOHA in our daily lives and society.

Ke aloha,
Miki and Hye Jung

P.S. If you have not yet joined our Foundations of ALOHA program, we are in the very first few sessions of Cohort 6, and welcome you to join our FOA ʻohana. It is an amazing space we get to share with so many families, educators, and community leaders – we hope to see you there!


and Invitations

Kealahou Initiative

We are humbled to support the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement on their Kealahou Initiative (Kī), a social impact innovation and entrepreneurship program for young people, ages 14-30. Our goal is to grow ʻōpio leaders in Hawaiʻi impassioned and empowered to serve lāhui.

Every participant will explore their passions and learn more about the process to create a business, social movement, or government initiative centered around aloha ʻāina. The next Kī Cohort launches the weekend of January 15-17, with a 36-hour intensive startup experience. Ideas and pitches generated during the weekend intensive will be further supported towards launch phase through a series of workshops over the following 4 weekends encompassing the essentials of innovation and entrepreneurship. Visit bit.ly/2kealahou to apply. All workshops will be held virtually; strong preference is given to Native Hawaiian applicants.

Hawaiʻi Online Portal for Education Project

We are so inspired by the amazing work of our local educators and education support networks. In building our fluency with the world of digital resources available to Hawaiʻi schools and students, we connected with so many talented and dedicated souls who shared with us their transformative initiatives. We mahalo the handful of early conversations we have been able to have with Hawaiʻi Distance Learning Forum, Kamehameha School’s Waihona.net, Hawaiʻi Society for Technology in Education, Hawaiʻi Department of Education Office of Talent Management’s Taste of Innovation/Creative Cafe, Hawaiʻi Department of Education Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design Content Specialists, Hawaiʻi P-20, Liliʻuokalani Trust, and key school-based leaders like Janice Blaber, Derek Minakami, Stacey Kunihisa, and Winston Sakurai in helping us better understand the content needs of Hawaiʻi students, teachers, schools, and community education organizations. As we work to support the development of the Hawaiʻi Online Portal for Education (HOPE), please stay tuned for opportunities to shape this initiative and the content and supports available for education in Hawaiʻi.

i ka wā mamua, ka wā mahope
the future is in the past; look to the past to inform the future

Kids Kilo & Create

We are excited to share Kids Kilo & Create, a collaborative program of East West Center and EI, hosted by Aunties Melisa and Nāwāhine! In this 5-week series of interactive virtual workshops, youth ages 7 – 10 will develop a practice of connecting with the natural world through art, movement, and music. Youth participants will have opportunities to connect with artists around the world. Please feel free to email questions to [email protected] and register at bit.ly/kiloandcreate.

Personal and

Professional Development

Since the first days of work-from-home, learn-from-home in March, we have been amongst the hundreds so lucky to join in on E Moʻolelo Kākou hosted by HIDOE Office of Hawaiian Education & Aupuni Palapala. Every Tuesday, we met different members of the Hawaiʻi-serving education community, learning so much from this hui of amazing souls. Mahalo OHE and AP for providing such a safe and comforting space for us all! For more information, please register here.

EI is always learning! Whether it is from the youth and family participants of our various programs, our partner organizations, or our advisors & mentors, we continuously find ourselves learning new things and trying to integrate that into the work that we get to do. Our most recent endeavor is a set of courses through the IDEO U, best known as a leader in the Design Thinking movement, and foundational element of the Stanford d.School.

We were pleased to have our CEO Miki featured as a panelist in the Architects Hawaiʻi Limited (AHL) virtual event on the Future of Learning. Miki joined art, architecture and education luminaries Daniel Freedman, Jonathan Johnson, and Paul Turnbull for an engaging conversation on transformative trends in education. You can view the recording of the session, including a couple of really amazing bio videos created by Miki’s cousin Jill Kuramoto, via this link.

And in what she reports as one of the most daunting tasks she faced during the past few months, Miki wrote another blog – the first was the Civil Beat piece we shared in April. As a co-founder of Impact.Ed, a new national social impact education network, Miki wrote to share the concepts of healing and aloha with the social impact and entrepreneurship community. Here is a link to her short essay, and a link to the Impact.Ed home page if you are interested in learning more about the group and their offerings.

Education Incubator

Book Nook

The Bowl Of Light
In our EI Book Nook this month is The Bowl Of Light, which documents the relationship between author Hank Wesselman and noted Hawaiian spiritual leader Hale Kealohalani Makua, and the sacred teachings of Hale Makua which Wesselman was given permission to share. For a small peek into what you might find in the pages and teachings of this book, visit the author’s short piece in Hanahou Magazine and learn about the Bowl of Light.

Hye Jung’s favorite quote
“This energy, this tapestry of aloha, is the most powerful of all the forces in the universe. And only when you are in the state of aloha, only then you can truly touch the universe. Only when you are in a state of love and practicing kindness, only then will the universe, as well as the ancestors, respond.”

Miki’s favorite quote
“Understand that those who are truly enlightened rarely advertise the fact and that history is a journey every one of us is making. It is not there for the convenience of the historian. The choices made for this life have been predicated on what has gone by before. Therefore, it is easier to know where you are going if you know where you have been.”

Meet the

EI Winter Team


Courtesy of Aloha Connects Innovation

Thanks to Oahu Economic Development Board and XLR8HI, EI was able to host three amazing individuals – Jorin, Moriah, and Melisa – through their Aloha Connects Innovation initiative. We truly appreciate the interest and dedication that they have for EI, and are excited to share with you the work they have done to support EI in the coming weeks.

Jorin was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi and is a recent graduate from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with her Bachelors degree in Theatre. She utilized this internship to fulfill creative aspects for EI and continue her passions. She has an extensive background in theatre and was last seen in her most recent project The Motherline Story Project X Hao/Peligro and her last live theatre performance of ʻAuʻa ʻIa: Holding On where she was given the opportunity to share this story of our culture and history in NYC this past January. With her knowledge in dance, Hana Keaka, theatre for young audiences, and education background working for the College of Education she wants to further her knowledge of teaching, healing and storytelling with the help of EI. She wants to thank Miki and Hye Jung for helping her pursue her dreams and introducing her to the amazing participants in EI’s programs.


Moriah focused her time with EI on increasing public awareness of the vision Education Incubator has for Hawaiʻi and our communities. Coming back home to Hawaiʻi after teaching in Thailand and teaching within the DOE system, she recognizes the importance of whole child learning and the spaces that care about learning holistically. With her background in Intercultural Studies, travels around the world, and time in education, Moriah hopes to convey the heart of EI through social media design elements and educator collaboration. She’s so thankful for the healing, aloha and bridge building tools that EI brings to the table!


Melisa is a multiethnic fifth-generation Chinese in Hawaiʻi born and raised in the moku of Kona on the island of Oʻahu. She is a recent graduate from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre, specializing in Theatre for Young Audiences. As a theatre-maker, she enjoys creating original works that are Hawaiʻi-centered, and is passionate about stories with ʻāina-based themes, like her thesis production for very young audiences, Keiki Kalo. With her ensemble ¡好 ???? Peligro! (or Aloha also means goodbye), she collaborates on experimental theatre projects that explore identity, history, and social issues among other themes. Her two children, Koa and Lehua, inspire her to be a better person, and were the reason she joined the first Foundations of Aloha cohort in May. She hopes to support the incredible work of Education Incubator and integrate arts-based education.

Mahalo mahalo mahalo!

We want to dedicate this space specifically to those who have supported us in our endeavors to apply for CARES funding for our work. Mahalo nunui to Hawaiʻi Investment Ready, Oahu Economic Development Board, Sultan Ventures, Hawaii State Federal Credit Union, Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union, HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union, American Savings Bank, Central Pacific Bank, City & County of Honolulu and Kaupena Wai LLC.

A hui hou

E ala mai kākou e nā kini, nā mamo o ka ʻāina aloha|
Aloha wale ia ʻāina, ko kākou kahua
Auē ka ʻiliʻili ē i ka hoʻopuehu ʻia nei.
E paepae hou ʻia ka pōhaku i paʻa maila ke kahua hale hou.

Let us get up, the multitudes, the precious children of the beloved land
Love this land, our foundation
Woe to the stones that have been strewn and scattered
Let the rocks be restacked so that a new home foundation can be made firm

This excerpt is from the mele inoa Ke Au Hawaiʻi written by Lale (Larry) Kimura, which challenges the generations of today to rise up and build a new foundation from ancestral teachings that may have been dismantled in years past. Mahalo to Uncle Neil Hannahs from Hawaiʻi Investment Ready for sharing this mele and manaʻo with us.

Let us learn from the past, and build a solid foundation for the future together.