Summer 2021: Sunshine and Life

July 1, 2021
Summer 2021 Newsletter

Sunshine and Life

Twice a year in this beautiful paeʻaina o Hawaiʻi, ka Lā passes directly overhead, in a phenomenon referred to as Kau Ka Lā i Ka Lolo. This occurrence begins at our southernmost tip of Ka Lae in May, arcs towards Papahānaumokuākea in June, and makes the return journey in July. At the peak of this journey, we also greet Ke Alanui Polohiwa a Kāne, the Summer Solstice. It is as if there was a season of maximum sunlight energy, helping to illuminate all the corners of our existence, leading us to explore the fullness of our lives, shining the light on all the potential growth ahead.

Ka Lā as the sun and a form of Kāne is associated with the activation of life.
Tom Penna of Hō Mai Ka Pono

Celebrating Cycles of Life

We welcome Baby Hayden to our family! Hayden met us in this realm of ao on May 3, and is already a contributing member to our cohort calls, working meetings, inspirational talks, and comic relief. We want to thank him for bringing such joy to us and to his parents, and wish Hye Jung, DJ, and their extended families a blessed and beautiful existence. We love you Hye Jung, DJ, and Hayden!

Foundations of ALOHA

Our Foundations of ALOHA program, affectionately known as “FOA” to our 500+ participants, reached a milestone — on May 18, we celebrated 1 full year of FOA programming! It has been an incredible learning journey as we endeavor to build ALOHA in our lives together as a statewide (and global!) community of practice. We have learned and grown so much with and from all of our participants, with much more learning and growth to come.

Congratulations to two of our wonderful cohort members, Trisha Kodama and Denise Karratti, for bravely sharing your ALOHA inspiration and wonderfully grounded classroom practices with others. Trisha’s piece, Finding my Aloha, was featured in Hawaii Teacher Voices and reflects deeply on her ALOHA practice. Denise’s piece, Teacher Voice: SEL-ebrate to the END!, was published in the Hawaiiʻi DOE’s Hoʻohaʻaheo, and offers an inspired and exciting perspective on the end of the crazy 2020-2021 school year. Thank you Trisha and Denise – we love you! We also want to mahalo ʻAnakala Pono Shim for sharing the teachings of Auntie Pilahi Paki with us all, and mahalo everyone in the Foundations of ALOHA ʻohana as we continuously grow our FOA family and our practices of ALOHA.

We are currently in our ninth cohort, with Cohort 10 launching on July 25. We hope you can join us! Please register at and feel free to share the information with others who might be interested.









(photos from Hawaii Department of Education and Hawaii Teacher Voices)


In honor of the passage of light from one form to the next, Miki shared her thoughts on ALOHA, and the light of the universe connecting past, present and future, through the Shinnyo-en Lantern Floating feature. We encourage you to visit the site, watch the show, and learn more about this ceremony that historically attracts up to 50,000 people to Oʻahu.



A Summer of Innovation Partnerships

As we left the 2020-21 school year behind, many of our schools and education leaders continued to ride the wave of innovative, place-based, technology-enhanced, purpose-driven education that arose from the depths of our COVID-discomfort. Our EI team had the awesome privilege of supporting brave new programs from elementary to early college — like the Kāneʻohe Elementary Summer Sandbox learning hub (check out the feature news story here!), and UH Maui College’s Upward Bound Innovation Summit which braided together strands of STEM, Design Thinking, and purpose projects to support high school students in answering the call of local clients to develop climate change solutions.








We also ventured out into the world to support our first in-person program in 15 months! In partnership with Ceeds of Peace, Hawai’i Women in Filmmaking, and Women’s Fund of Hawai‘i, our EI team co-led La Pietra’s The Future is Wahine Summer Workshops, a tuition-free program for girls in grades 5-9.

We invited our friends Tom from Hō Mai Ka Pono and Austin from Huli and Polynesian Voyaging Society to share with these rising wahine the importance of place, intention, and direction setting. Mahalo to La Pietra and all of our partners for the incredible 2-week experience!


EI Book Nook

Our most recent read was Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist by Kate Raworth, where we contemplated the past and future state of the world in light of an abundance mindset. What we have learned in our years as students and teachers is that Hawaiʻi offers unique perspectives on abundance. How might we set our sights on a thriving Hawaiʻi?

We wondered about how global interest in the Doughnut might be informed by Hawaiʻi’s own ʻĀina Aloha Economic Futures framework, co-authored by so many of our friends, colleagues, and mentors, as well as the feminist recovery approach delineated in Building Bridges, Not Walking on Backs: A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for COVID-19. We invite you to learn more about both of these amazing, local innovations by reading the publications about the efforts. We also invite you to learn, perhaps more importantly, about each of the authors and their personal and professional commitments to a just, equitable, thriving Hawaiʻi.

Inspired by our participation in The Future is Wahine program and our wahine- and mahina-based kilo and healing studies with Hō Mai Ka Pono, our next book will be Nā Wāhine Kapu, Divine Hawaiian Women, by Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa. Please let us know if you would like to join us in this reading. We have a few copies of this book that we can loan out and circulate throughout the month we are taking to read and learn from this incredible work.

Up next in our reading rotation is Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Entrepreneur’s Corner

Mahalo to those who were able to attend our Innovation Ecosystem Talk Story Series, hosted in partnership with Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and Sultan Ventures. Our conversation covered a wide range of topics from ʻōiwi innovation, the future of Hawaiʻi’s startup ecosystem, youth entrepreneurship, and aloha-based economies. We hope this is the beginning of an ongoing dialogue on the role of entrepreneurs and innovators in the reinvention of a thriving Hawaiʻi where economic prosperity is achievable for all, and both cultural and environmental prosperity are not compromised. We look forward to helping continue the conversation!


Biggest shoutout to the 50+ ʻōpio entrepreneurs we have met and mentored through the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement’s Kealahou Initiative! From Hawaiian medium video games, to renewable energy farms that grow maoli crops, farms for rescued feral hens, indigenous herbal pharmacies, and contemporary Hawaiian graffiti art, we have been absolutely inspired by these youth and their transformation ideas. Please join us in sending them love and support as they take their next steps in developing their business models. If you are interested in learning more about each of their innovative ideas, please let us know – we are happy to connect you!

H.O.P.E. Updates

Our Hawaiʻi Online Portal for Education Professional Development Series is finally HERE! We are set to launch our first test of the HOPE PD modules with various groups of teachers and subject-matter experts throughout the month of July and August. If you have signed up to participate in HOPE but have not yet been notified of what content, focus, or other working group you have been invited to, please know that we are still in the process of forming the teams. We hope to accommodate all interested educators to join us in this first-ever effort to specifically focus on Hawaiʻi teachers building a digital resource portal for Hawaiʻi teachers, side-by-side with place-based, content-specific experts. Stay tuned for the next steps in this exciting process!

Sending Our Gratitude

Mahalo to the Hawaiʻi Life Charitable Fund (HLCF) for your support of our efforts to grow our FOA ʻohana!

We are so grateful for all the many organizations and individuals who have enriched our FOA ʻohana for the past year. You are all such gifts to us!

shining a light softly…

As much as she does not like the spotlight, we would be remiss if we did not share at least a hint of the recent keynote and leadership opportunities that feature our CEO Miki. Our favorite quote from one of her recent speaking engagements:

“What does a world that is truly without bias look like? A world where the riches and opportunities of the world fall upon us as sunshine, not having known thousands and thousands of years ago where it might meet us, not caring what shape or color or state of matter we currently occupy? That sunlight energy comes to us no matter what we have done in all our yesterdays… how might we take the energy and momentum we are gifted with today, know we are destined to support our children to live into and shape a better world, and give them that same gift of empowerment without judgment?”

Share Your EI Spark!






As we look forward to celebrating 4 years of continuously evolving programming in July, we are seeking your input on our resources and engagements. Specifically focusing on our website in this survey, we would love your input on how to improve our site. We so appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete this short survey to help us make those improvements!