Kupu understands that our state cannot continue to deplete our natural resources if we want to ensure a sustainable future for the generations to come. Through the conservation of our precious resources, coupled with the creation of a new paradigm centered on sustainable ideas within our community, Hawaiʻi will serve as a true steward in the Pacific. The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Hoʻokupu Center will create a “piko” or center in Oʻahu, supplying our islands with a first-of-its-kind facility devoted to cultivating leadership in the growing green jobs sector – one of the fastest growing sectors of Hawaiʻi’s economy.
Kupu’s goal is to unlock the potential in our youth, build community engagement, and foster positive economic development, all while helping our island state position itself as a global leader in sustainability and stewardship. Located in the developing Kakaʻako neighborhood, the Center will be a scalable model of opportunity and innovation, of economic and energy self-sufficiency; a place where the community can interact, learn, and ultimately be a demonstration of aloha to the world.
Since 2010, Kupu has occupied the large, open-air “Net Shed” building at the Kewalo Basin Harbor in Kakaʻako that was originally utilized by aku fisherman to hang their nets. Once an area known for crime, Kupu has utilized the facility over the last few years to restore the community through its award-winning programs and improvements in the structure, gardens, shower areas, and surrounding spaces. The Net Shed is now in dire need of renovations that will provide advanced and upgraded facilities for its youth and expand the capacity of its programs.
Improvements will better equip the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Hoʻokupu Center to house Kupu’s distinguished Community Programs, which are devoted to positively reorienting the life trajectories of Oʻahu’s disadvantaged youth by engaging them in environmental stewardship and cultural learning, while helping them earn their diplomas and obtain job training and life skills essential for success.
The Center will also be a venue with workshop and laboratory facilities, classrooms, conference rooms, and community space. It will feature microenterprise opportunities, allowing the young adults in our programs to discover and experience first-hand the multitude of sustainable enterprises open to them for employment, while also offering the ability to earn income. Plans include a vocational kitchen that will highlight locally-sourced produce and promote educational experiences for the public on sustainable agriculture.
The Center will also fulfill the crucial need for a community center where citizens can foster the incubation of new ideas and initiatives. It will be invaluable not only to the surrounding community, but to all of Oʻahu and the neighboring islands, as well as the many visitors that we welcome to our shores. With a focus on civic engagement and environmental and cultural stewardship, the many educational displays and workshops to be hosted at the Center will empower all with the knowledge and passion to help shape a better Hawaiʻi.
The facility itself will be a model of sustainability, leading by example with net zero energy usage through photovoltaic energy panels and being at the forefront of design dedicated to shoreline and waterfront preservation. It will be a true resource for island communities and beyond, a place where we can to come together to model solutions on how to thrive while responsibly stewarding our natural resources and people for a better tomorrow.
Kupu’s initiative is consistent with the master plan for the waterfront being developed in conjunction with the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority.