Native Hawaiian program receives $1.5 million grant

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Shannon Hirose-Wong, (808) 956-9904
Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence
Jim Manke, (808) 956-6099
Director of Public Affairs
Posted: Nov 26, 2003

The Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence at the University of Hawai'i John A. Burns School of Medicine has been awarded $1.5 million over five years to support the activities of Hui Malama o ke Kai. The award was made by the US Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools under a program that grants awards to organizations to plan, conduct, and administer programs designed for the benefit of Native Hawaiians.

Shannon Hirose-Wong, Ph.D., Research Coordinator at the Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence and Principal Investigator for the grant, has been a leader and strong supporter of Hui Malama o ke Kai since its inception. With the proceeds from this grant, Dr. Hirose-Wong will be able to expand program services while maintaining program stability.

Hui Malama o ke Kai (HMK), a prevention and wellness program, provides services for 5th and 6th graders in Waimānalo during the after school hours when children are most at risk for exposure to drugs, alcohol, and violence. HMK utilizes a holistic approach to prevention and wellness that encompasses mind, body, and spiritual growth in order to strengthen protective/resiliency factors in young people.

The multifaceted program also includes family-strengthening and community-building components. HMK is based on Native Hawaiian culture and values and provides an innovative, engaging, and hands-on curriculum that utilizes the ocean, community, and environment as classrooms. Started five years ago by Waimanalo community members as an alternative to drugs and illegal activity, Hui Malama o ke Kai now serves more than forty students a year with no charge to the participants or their families.

Dean Edwin Cadman states, "This is a wonderful opportunity for the medical school to form an enduring relationship with the Windward community in an area that needs everybody‘s attention. Kids who learn about the ravages of drugs are less likely to use them."