Ola Niuhelewai: Improving Native Hawaiian Success Through Well-Being, a U.S. Department of Education Title III grant
“Ola Niuhelewai!” Niuhelewai Lives! Ola Niuhelewai is funded by a US DOE Title III grant from October 1, 2020 thru September 30, 2025. The overarching theme of this project is “mauli ola” and it is inspired by the ʻō noʻ’eau, or proverb: “Ka la i ka Mauliola,” which is translated as “the sun at the source of life” (Pukui, 1983, p. 154). Mauli ola refers to health and well-being and it is described as a holistic approach that balances Native Hawaiians’ traditional concepts of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health (OHA, 2019, Mauli Ola).
The goal of this project is to raise HonCC’s Native Hawaiian students’ satisfactory academic progress, retention, and graduation by increasing their health literacy through a culturally relevant curriculum focused on the roles of aina (land) and ola pono (personal health and wellness) in mauli ola (well-being). Through the proposed goals and activities HonCC hopes to build the capacity of its Native Hawaiian students increase educational attainment and improve their personal health and well-being. The skills and knowledge that students will develop as a result of their participation in this project will lead to advances in Native Hawaiian academic progress, retention, and graduation, and increase prospects for high-skill, high-wage careers. By building a strong foundation, students will begin to contribute to the mauli ola of their families, the community, and the lahui (nation). The desired ripple effect will “change the trajectory of health for the next generation of Kanaka Oiwi [Native Hawaiians]” (Miyamoto, 2019, p. 31).
Ola Niuhelewai Activities
The project seeks to achieve its goals through the following activities:
Mauli Ola Workshops & Field Trips
Students will have an opportunity to attend workshops that bring in experts in the fields of aina, ola pono, and mauli ola as well as field trips to sites actively involved in mauli ola. These activities will foster connections between aina/ola pono and mauli ola by exposing participants to experts from the field.
New Student Registrations & New Student Orientations
All incoming Native Hawaiian new students are required to attend a New Student Registration, where they will learn how to register for courses, and be introduced to services at Honolulu Community College for Native Hawaiian students. Prior to the start of the Fall semester, students will also have an opportunity to attend an optional New Student Orientation where they will receive a more in-depth introduction to the college, key faculty and staff, and services to support their academic success.
Community Mentorships & Leadership Development
Three cohorts of 25 students each will engage in a semester-long collaborative learning experience, beginning with a hands-on, experiential learning orientation. During the orientation, they will attend field trips throughout the Kapalama ahupuaʻa and connect with experts in the field. Following the orientation, cohorts will engage in a semester-long collaborative learning experience with a mentor who has expertise in ʻāina, ola pono, and mauli ola. The mentors will help students develop skills and knowledge in ʻāina, ola pono, and mauli ola while providing academic, career, and personal guidance to help students achieve academic success. Students will also work on a capstone project that improves mauli ola on campus and present their projects at a culminating event. Students who complete mentorships and leadership development training will have an opportunity to attend a huakaʻi (excursion) to another island to learn more about how other kānaka ʻōiwi have successfully promoted mauli ola in their communities.
After completing the leadership development training, students from the first two cohorts will serve as peer mentors to the incoming participants to demonstrate what they learned in a meaningful context, to provide meaningful employment opportunities on campus, and to model student success for peers. Peer mentors will attend a one-day training orientation facilitated by project staff to build relationships and develop strategies that will improve their mentoring capacity. They will also have an opportunity to attend a national conference focused on either aina or ola pono and mauli ola to support their ability to mentor the new cohorts.
Ola Niuhelewai Eligibility
- All incoming Native Hawaiian new students will participate in the New Student Registration.
- Native Hawaiian New Student Orientations are open to all Native Hawaiian students.
- Community mentorships and leadership development training are open to any Native Hawaiian students at Honolulu Community College with an interest in ʻāina (land), ola pono (personal health and wellness), and/or mauli ola (well-being).
- Peer Mentors will be selected from students in the first two cohorts that complete Leadership Development Training.
If you are interested in participating in the community mentorship and leadership development activity please contact us at email@example.com.
Ola Niuhelewai Staff
Jo Ann Kapulani Tuifanu
Ola Pono Program Specialist
R. Māpuana Hayashi-Simpliciano
ʻĀina Program Specialist
Major: Natural Science (Pre-Biology)
Major: Welding Technology
Major: Fire and Environmental Emergency Response
Major: Liberal Arts (Psychology)
*Hours are subject to change. On rare occasions the Hawaiian Center is closed for off site activities. Follow our social media accounts and check the Calendar of Events for announcements.
Ola Pono Program Specialist
ʻĀina Program Specialist