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Hawaiian Community Assets unveils financial education curriculum for youth

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HONOLULU, Hawaii – During the month of March, Hawaiian Community Assets unveiled its new financial education curriculum for youth, Kahua Waiwai, Opio Edition. To officially launch the curriculum, HCA coordinated three “train-the-trainer” events on Oahu, Maui and Hilo for more than 30 local trainers and counselors who plan to deliver financial literacy training for youth in their schools or communities. All participants received an instructor’s certificate, instructor’s guide with supplemental workshop CD-ROM, and a limited number of student handbooks.

Statistics show that teens spend 98 percent of what they earn, the bankruptcy rate among youth ages 18 – 24 has increase by 96 percent over the last 10 years, and more students drop out of college due to teen accumulated debt than for academic reasons. Kahua Waiwai, Opio Edition was uniquely developed to address the local statistics cited above and serve Hawaii youth, ages 14 – 18, by linking traditional Hawaiian resource management with modern-day money management practices.

“This has been an exciting month for us,” said Michelle Kauhane, HCA executive director. “The creation of Kahua Waiwai, Opio Edition was a vision of our board president, Kehau Filimoeatu as well as a response to a community demand to bring financial education and resources to our high school students. Since inception, HCA has served over 5,000 individuals with homebuyer education and financial literacy workshops targeted towards Hawaiian adults and families using our first Kahua Waiwai Edition. We believed in the vision of our founders, saw the need in our community first-hand, and wanted to offer culturally appropriate tools to Hawaii’s teens at little to no cost.”

“We are so very proud to officially launch and distribute Kahua Waiwai, Opio Edition”, Kauhane continues. “This would not have been possible without the support of our many funders and partners, as well as the research and coordination of Jeff Gilbreath, HCA programs coordinator. This curriculum is a true example of collaboration on a community level, starting with youth review and advisory groups and ending with the visually stimulating graphic design and artwork of YouthVision Hawaii.”

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Kahua Waiwai, Opio Edition was made possible through support from the Hawaii State Department of Human Services, the Administration for Native Americans, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, and YouthVision Hawaii. HCA will now collaborate with the groups who participated in the trainings to commemorate financial literacy month in April.

For more information about the curriculum and to participate in commemorating financial literacy month, contact Gilbreath at (808) 587-7653 or via e-mail at