01 Sep Kupu and Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation Launch Third Annual Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge Mini-Grant Program, North Shore News

Program Offers Funding and Mentorship for Students to Create Solutions to Environmental Issues

HONOLULU – Students who want to help their schools or communities go green now have a chance to earn funding to back their big ideas. Conservation and education nonprofit Kupu, in partnership with Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation, is launching its third annual Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge mini-grant program, which supports student-led environmental initiatives.

Applications are now open and due Oct. 19. Students in grades 6-12 from public, private, and charter schools statewide are encouraged to apply.

“We are so excited to host another Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge mini-grant opportunity,” says
Kupu CEO John Leong. “Not only is this a great experience for Hawai‘i’s next generation of eco-preneurs
and eco-engineers, but it’s also a win for the community at large. We have seen so many students generate
innovative and effective projects that address pressing environmental issues. We can’t wait to see what our
future leaders come up with this year.”

Last school year, the program provided a total of $17,525 in mini-grants ranging from $150 to $1,000
to 22 student teams across 20 schools. Projects included custom-designed recycling bins, aquaponics systems,
native plant subscription boxes, and an alternative fuel vehicle show, among many other creative
environmental initiatives.

“The Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge provided my students with an invaluable experience and
an opportunity to tackle a real-world project,” said Campbell High School teacher Samantha Long, whose
students designed recycling bins and placed them at an area beach park. “The project forced the students
through critical thinking, problem solving and collaborating … What started as a class project turned into
a project of passion. They worked together after school and continued working on the project long after
the grade was due.”

Individual projects will be awarded between $150 and $1,000 based on scope and need. Project proposals
can be submitted individually, in groups, or involve a collaboration between two or more schools. Each
team must include one teacher adviser and will also be paired with an outside mentor to support project
development. Grant recipients will be selected in November and projects will commence in January. Projects
are required to be implemented and completed by the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

 “Last year’s Hawai’i Youth Sustainability Challenge projects were impactful not just on the students

that participated in them, but also the schools and communities that their projects reached,” says Kokua
Hawai’i Foundation Executive Director Natalie McKinney. “Kokua Hawai’i Foundation is excited for a new
batch of projects spearheaded by youth leaders who care about and want to make positive impacts on our

The Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge is a legacy initiative of the 2016 International Union for
Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress, where it was first announced by first lady Mrs. Dawn
Amano-Ige, with the goal of inspiring youth to engage with the environment through action, advocacy,
and education. The 2018-2019 Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge is produced by Kupu and Kokua
Hawai‘i Foundation with support from Kamehameha Schools and other community organizations.
For more information on Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge, visit kupuhawaii.org/hysc/.

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