Kupu Awarded $1.25 Million Grant for Environmental Service Learning Youth Program | Community Spirit
The following information is provided by Halvorson PR:
Kupu, a Hawaii-based nonprofit organization that administers the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC) program, will receive a $1,256,020 AmeriCorps Grant from the Corporation for National Community Service to support their efforts to sustain and protect Hawaii’s environment.
The announcement was made by Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation of Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Representative Mazie K. Hirono and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa.
The funds will be used for Kupu’s Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps programs to foster life and leadership skills through service learning as well as provide critically needed environmental conservation work throughout the State of Hawaii. Kupu has received funding for HYCC programs through the Corporation for National Community Service for the past two years as well.
According to John Leong, Executive Director of Kupu, Kupu offers several programs that provide hands-on educational experience to Hawaii’s youth, combining opportunities to learn about and restore Hawaii’s natural environment with character building, teamwork and personal development.
The grant allows HYCC members work at dozens of environmental and cultural projects in the state, including restoration of watershed areas, coastline management and removal of invasive species and restoration of Native plants. Participants receive monetary stipends as well as college credit and education awards that assist them in continuing their educational and life pursuits.
“The AmeriCorps funds awarded by the Corporation for National Community Service this year will enable Kupu to continue to train hundreds of youth in practical job training skills as well as developing an environmental mindset that participants will carry with them throughout their life,” Leong said. “Through partnerships with more than 80 State, federal and private organizations engaged in environmental restoration work, Kupu offers Hawaii youth the opportunity to work in the field with natural resource managers, educators, scientists and community leaders.”
Leong added that Kupu programs also focus on under-resourced young adults and equips these young adults with the skills experiences, training and support needed to become productive members of society with a heart to serve and positively impact the community around them.
Leong noted that the impact of HYCC programs extends beyond the over 2,000 youth who have participated in the program since 2001.
“Over the past 12 years Kupu has grown and now engages more than 15,000 volunteers and about 400 internships, mostly paid, each year to restore and protect Hawaii’s unique ecosystems,” Leong said. “Last year, Kupu programs have provided more than 232,000 service hours to our community, providing an economic benefit of more than $6.5 million to Hawaii through restoration and conservation programs, including close to $500,000 in education awards through its AmeriCorps grant.”
Kupu is a 501 c 3 Hawaii-based nonprofit formed in 2007. Kupu in Hawaiian means to sprout, grow, germinate, or increase, like the kupukupu fern, which is one of the first plants to bring life back to the land after a devastating lava flow. Kupu’s heart is to bring life back to the people, the land, and the ocean. Through its various programs, Kupu aims to provide experiential education, as well as job training, leadership and life skills development opportunities to help youth and young adults succeed in life and encourage them to serve their communities.