In July, Kauhale O Waianae, a partnership between MA`O Organic Farms and Searider Productions, received a three-year, $4 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which funds programs that develop educated and healthy children and families. According to its 2009 annual report, the foundation distributed $322 million, 80 percent of which goes towards programs in the United States. The grant will create a pipeline for the youth of Waianae to enter and graduate from college.
Searider Productions is a media education program at Waianae High School. Both Searider and MA`O have been praised for their innovative youth programs using hands-on training and project-based learning. “We’re exactly the same organization except one deals with farming and one deals with storytelling. We’re a 21st century reiteration of the ancient Hawaiian model of society,” says John Allen III, video advisor at Searider Productions.
Each, however, have their own strengths. With the grant money, Searider Productions hopes to start a college internship program with help from MA`O, and MA`O hopes to bolster its youth programs at the high school and intermediate level.
The program’s leaders, including Searider Productions’ program director Candy Suiso, hope it will change Waianae. “The vision is to really turn our community around, break that poverty cycle, break that stereotype and just really develop some great leaders who come back into the community and move the community in a forward direction.”
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