KS Regional Director for Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau Buffy Ofisa and Support Services Manager Caroline Victorino recently took their team’s new Mobile Outreach Center out for a spin visiting ‘Ele‘ele Elementary School and Hāloalaunuiākea Early Learning Center.
Kamehameha Schools has rolled out a new Mobile Outreach Center on Kaua‘i, to help more ‘ohana apply for educational programs, financial aid opportunities, and Native Hawaiian ancestry verification.
KS invested nearly $40,000 in the mobile unit that was unveiled last week at an ‘Ohana Night at Hā Coffee Bar in Līhu‘e.
“While we are a ‘small’ island, the distance to our office in Līhu‘e is a barrier for some families,” said Buffy Ofisa, KS regional director for Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau. “This mobile unit gives us an opportunity to meet the ‘ohana we serve in their communities and bring resources to them for one-on-one assistance.”
The Kaua‘i team took the Mobile Outreach Center out for a spin last Thursday to acquaint the community with the unit. At ‘Ele‘ele Elementary School, Ofisa and KS Support Services Manager Caroline Victorino donated books from Kamehameha Publishing to the school’s library and gave Principal Paul Zina a tour of the van.
“The value that really comes from this outreach center is that in a rural community like any neighbor island, and parts of O‘ahu too, it’s really important that we bring essential services and skilled people to share with community members and parents who might not be able to travel the distance away from where they live,” Zina said. “To have a mobile center like this is extremely helpful, and I’m sure it will get a lot of use.”
The Mobile Outreach Center also visited Hāloalaunuiākea Early Learning Center, a private preschool in ‘Ele‘ele owned and directed by U‘i Corr-Yorkman, a 1999 KS Kapālama graduate. The school is a KS Pauahi Keiki Scholars Scholarship collaborator. Through the scholarship program, KS provides need-based scholarship for children to attend participating non-KS preschools.
“The Mobile Outreach Center will provide our families with an education about opportunities that Kamehameha Schools provides,” said Corr-Yorkman. “Our ‘ohana are given the tools they need to apply for these important services.”
Last September, KS broadened its reach throughout the Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau communities by opening a Community Hale in Līhu‘e. Located at 3201 Akahi Street (next to Tip Top Restaurant), the Community Hale includes offices for KS’ four-person regional team, as well as ‘ohana engagement team members and counselors – two of whom are dedicated to the nationally acclaimed Kamehameha Scholars program and one focused on post-high school efforts.
“The most important thing about the work we do on Kaua‘i is connecting with our hardest-to-reach families – going mobile and being purposeful about honoring and knowing that some of our families won’t be able to come to Līhu‘e and find us,” Ofisa said. “Going to them and making them a part of our family not only helps those people at that time, but it will help every generation after that.”
The most important thing about the work we do on Kaua‘i is connecting with our hardest-to-reach families – going mobile and being purposeful about honoring and knowing that some of our families won’t be able to come to Līhu‘e and find us. Going to them and making them a part of our family not only helps those people at that time, but it will help every generation after that.
Buffy Ofisa, KS Regional Director for Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau