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Hawai‘i Island Youth Academy: School Year Recap

Hawai‘i Island Youth Academy (HIYA) continues to strengthen in numbers with youth who share the same goal: to put an end to this vaping epidemic. This year, HIYA’s main focus was to bring much-needed awareness to their communities. They were given many opportunities to do so at sign-waving and tabling events, school presentations, and other prominent community events. They continue to work hard in their communities promoting HIYA’s goals and efforts. We have recently welcomed nine new youth to HIYA. We continue to encourage the youth in our communities to join this incredible movement and promote healthier lifestyles.

This year, a few of our HIYA youth who attend Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i gathered amongst their peers to create a pledge campaign called “E Ola Loa Kākou!” which translates to “We choose to live life to its fullest!” This campaign encouraged haumana to commit to choosing a healthy lifestyle. The planning process for this campaign was initiated with a discussion on March 20, 2023. The youth continued to push to complete this campaign and were able to roll it out on April 24, 2023. Each youth created a digital visual to share their testimony on how they choose to live a healthier lifestyle. Zoe Gacayan, a member of HIYA, shared, “I enjoy running track. I choose to have healthy lungs to jump hurdles instead of coughing up smoke. I choose to protect my future and escape the vape. E Ola Loa Kākou!” In addition to the digital visuals, they created a display where haumana could sign a commitment to live a healthy lifestyle. The display was for all haumana at Kula Ki‘eki‘e in grades 9th-12th to view and welcome others to join in. After committing, they were given a bracelet as a gentle reminder of their decision. 

Kumu Lehua Vincent, Po‘o Kumu at Kula Ki‘eki‘e, shared that this campaign will begin earlier this coming school year 2023-2024. He expressed much pride for the dedication these students showed in such a short amount of time and organization. Through their hard work, they were able to receive over 100 pledges. The students who spearheaded this campaign were Bryanna Kamau-Chang, Caleh Carvalho, Jared Galapir, Zoe Gacayan, and Ryder Okumura. In the upcoming school year, they plan to do more sign-waving events and school presentations to lower grades to continue to make this campaign thrive. 

HIPHI and Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i Island Coalition continue to support the efforts of our youth council as they strive to choose healthier lifestyles. To learn more about the Hawai‘i Island Youth Academy or to get involved, please email Tobacco and HEAL Coalition Coordinator Kealoha Madriaga at kealoha@hiphi.org.

Bracelets students received for participating in E Ola Loa Kākou Campaign.
Bracelets students received for participating in E Ola Loa Kākou Campaign.
Bryanna Kamau-Chang shares how she chooses to live a healthy lifestyle.

Bryanna Kamau-Chang shares how she chooses to live a healthy lifestyle.

Zoe Gacayan shares how she chooses to live a healthy lifestyle.

Zoe Gacayan shares how she chooses to live a healthy lifestyle.

Display of 100 pledges of students who chose to participate in the E Ola Loa Kākou Campaign.

Display of 100 pledges of students who chose to participate in the E Ola Loa Kākou Campaign.

Bracelets students received for participating in E Ola Loa Kākou Campaign.Bryanna Kamau-Chang shares how she chooses to live a healthy lifestyle.Zoe Gacayan shares how she chooses to live a healthy lifestyle.Display of 100 pledges of students who chose to participate in the E Ola Loa Kākou Campaign.
Kealoha Madriaga

Kealoha Madriaga

West Hawai‘i Tobacco and HEAL Coalition Coordinator
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