Hometown Heroes: Grant helps support North Kohala students and their families

  • A keiki shows off a bag of produce during a food distribution for ohana in the Kohala complex. Nonprofit Partners in Development Foundation recently received a $27,027 grant from the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation for the Piha Me Ka Pono program to provide additional educational support and resources to enhance their school experience, which has been drastically altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, West Hawaii Today is publishing a story about individuals, groups or organizations that have helped make life better for others in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonprofit Partners in Development Foundation recently received a $27,027 grant from the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation for the Piha Me Ka Pono program.

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The funding will provide North Kohala community students additional educational support and resources to enhance their school experience, which has been drastically altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, community workshops will be offered based on the needs of the community and can include, but not be limited to, financial literacy, first aid and CPR, Hawaiian culture, and other certifications.

Piha Me Ka Pono sparks unique partnerships with community agencies to meet the needs of Kohala Complex students and their ohana, servicing beyond academic requirements — like collaborating with the high school culinary arts school students to cook and prepare food for community events and health assistance to build a healthy and resilient community.

Past and current partnerships and efforts allow Piha Me Ka Pono to supplement innovation and keep up with the ever changing needs and challenges of the community, particularly with the pandemic. These projects include Medical Assistant Certifications for high school students, a resilience hub that supports working parents with a safe place where their children can be supported with their distance learning and interact with others during the pandemic, and using a 3D printer to create PPE like masks.

To learn more about Piha Me Ka Pono or support the program’s efforts, visit www.pidf.org.

Partners in Development Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity that inspires and equips families and communities for success and service, using timeless Native Hawaiian values and traditions. The goal is to help these communities overcome difficult challenges in ways that would make them, in turn, teachers and helpers of others in need. Since 1997, PIDF has served more than 100,000 people in 75 communities across the Hawaiian Islands.

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The William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation is a private family foundation that exists to engage all generations of O’Neill family members through philanthropy. The foundation is committed to strengthening families and improving communities in which O’Neill family members live and are engaged in the work of the Foundation.

Know a Hometown Hero who should be highlighted next Wednesday? It can be anybody, from a youngster doing good for the community, to a professional helping with the COVID-19 pandemic, or even a kupuna! Please send your nominations to cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com with the subject: Hometown Heroes Nomination. Please include the hero’s name, contact information and what makes them a hero.

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