“ʻOhana ʻike means knowledge of the family. So the purpose of the program is to engage ʻohana, engage families, in the college planning process. Our goal for each child is that each child enrolls in a post-high institution of their choosing,” said program manger Andrea Dias.
The ʻOhana ʻIke program currently serves students at Nānākuli High and Intermediate School as part of Kamehameha Schools’ Ka Pua Initiative. Hawaiian culture is used to carry ‘ohana through the multiyear journey.
“So we bridge the steps of building a waʻa, building a canoe to college and career readiness from the seventh through the twelfth grade. So a seventh grader, we start with again the metaphor of building a waʻa. So doing goal setting, doing visioning with families. And then for a twelfth grade, itʻs really about the launching of the canoe. Itʻs about finishing the college application process, financial aid. So getting specific steps completed so that actually put their waʻa in the water,” explained Andrea.
By participating in the ʻOhana ʻIke program, Jahnna Kahele is now taking the steps to turn her dreams of attending college into reality.
“One day I hope to come back to the Leeward coast and be a teacher. And give back to the community. And I think itʻs important that if thatʻs where you came from and thatʻs who got you here today, then itʻs good to give back. Itʻs better to give than to receive,” said Jahnna Kahele, a sophomore student at Nānākuli High and Intermediate School.
When describing Jahnna, Andrea said, “What I see with Jahnna is, sheʻs a young woman who has this character that really, I think, can be that change agent to demystify a lot of stereotypes that people have about people who live on the coast. And she has strong character and wants to be an example that she wants to go to college, and she will go to college.”
“My favorite thing that I learned was when they said that it takes a village to raise one kid. You can’t do it on your own. You have to have support from your family, your friend, your community. And just learning from your past helps you in your present and prepares you for your future,” said Jahnna.
This collective support extends to the students’ ‘ohana who play a critical role in future success.
“Well these students will be first-generation college students. So their mākua, their parents will need that kind of one-to-one support. We know that a lot of families get overwhelmed with the college planning process. There’s a lot of information involved, so we want to make sure families know we are here to kākoʻo, to support them on that journey,” remarked Andrea.