Hawaiʻi Youth Sustainability Challenge

05 Dec Local Nonprofits Team Up to Launch 2016 Hawaiʻi Youth Sustainability Challenge

New micro-grant program supports eco-initiatives of Hawai‘i’s K-12 students and teachers

HONOLULU – Kupu, Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education organization, and Kōkua Hawai‘i  Foundation today announced the launch of the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge (HYSC), a new mini-grant program aimed to support emerging environmental projects from Hawai‘i’s public, private, and charter schools. Students and educators in grades K-12 will have the opportunity to apply for funding to kick start their own grassroots initiatives and identify new, sustainable solutions for their schools and communities.

“Every day, we are moved and inspired by the innovative minds of our youth and their incredible, innate passion to mālama ʻāina,” said John Leong, CEO of Kupu. “With this program, we encourage students to turn their vision into a reality and lead their community in becoming more engaged in protecting Hawai‘i’s pristine ecosystems.”

HYSC was first announced by First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress and is dedicated to inspiring youth to be intentionally engaged with the environment through action, advocacy and education.

“As a Hawai‘i Legacy Initiative from this year’s IUCN Congress, the Hawaiʻi Youth Sustainability Challenge provides students an opportunity to develop and implement creative and sustainable solutions in their own communities,” said First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige. “If we expect today’s youth to resolve tomorrow’s global threats, we need to engage and empower them now, with resources and support to tackle local issues.”

Applications for the HYSC mini-grant are available on the Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation website portal at https://kokua.fluxx.io. Students are encouraged to propose fresh projects or ideas that emphasize their environmental passions and motivation, interests in conservation education and desire to create sustainable, localized change. They must be presented as a team through one of the three structures:

  • Individually-Powered Projects – One student and one teacher advisor
  • Group-Powered Projects – Multiple students with one student leader and one teacher advisor
  • School Collaboration-Powered Projects – Two or more schools collaborating on projects with one student leader and one teacher advisor

HYSC mini-grants will range between $150 to $1,000 based on the project scope and needs. Students may start applying for grants from Dec. 5, with the deadline for submission on Jan. 29, 2017. Grants are scheduled to be distributed at the end of February through early March and projects are required to be implemented by the end of June.

“We are pleased to include the Hawaiʻi Youth Sustainability Challenge initiative in our Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation Mini-Grant Program for K-12 students statewide,” added Natalie McKinney, Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation executive director. “Hawaiʻi’s keiki are the seeds of change to preserving and protecting our environment, and we look forward to supporting their fresh ideas and commitment to becoming sustainable stewards of their island home.”

The program is funded by Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, Kamehameha Schools and Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation, with the support of the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education.

“The HYSC initiative is the result of generous support and collaboration of Hawai‘i’s community leaders and organizations,” added Leong. “We are humbled to be a part of this innovative effort that will cultivate the next generation of resilient, forward-thinking leaders to impact conservation and inspire others to mālama ʻāina.”

For more information about the Hawaiʻi Youth Sustainability Challenge, please visit https://www.kokuahawaiifoundation.org/minigrants.

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