Honolulu, Hawai’i (March 31, 2022) – Residents of Kahauiki Village may have all come from different walks of life — but once they arrive, they become part of a larger family.
“Once families move here, Kahauiki Village is their home for as long as they choose to stay,” said Kiana Whipkey, Kahauiki Village Family Specialist. “Right now, we have 129 families living in the village, which includes 294 kids.”
A small group of those children is working with Whipkey to develop their entry for the national Kids Tech Summit taking place on Friday, April 22. Their project is one of four finalists from across the country and focuses on keeping the families who live on the property connected.
All of the students on the team live in Kahauiki Village — a place that takes a unique approach to helping homeless families with children in the Aloha State.
It is a “plantation-style community designed to attain and permanently retain homes for homeless families with children” while also providing “employment opportunities within walking distance for homeless parents,” according to kahauiki.org.
“The approach is a nod to the history of Hawai’i and the plantation lifestyle of the past,” explained Whipkey. “It’s a public and private partnership to help at-risk families get the help they need when they need it most. Our housing situation is very unique. We have whatever the family needs on property — a post office, a store, a laundromat, and more.”
Developing an online hub
Whipkey says the students taking part in the Kids Tech Summit wanted to make sure their project directly benefitted the families living in the village.
“I have a core group of kids who always want to help and be engaged,” she said. “I told them about the competition, and we let their ideas flow. They had amazing ideas and really want to do good things for others.”
“Kahuaiki Village is a safe place where people can come to have a house, and we want them to feel safe here,” said Senany, sixth grader.
The students ultimately decided to work on developing a community website so they could both cultivate their tech skills and support their community. The site will provide the latest details on events, resources, news from families, photos, and more.
Their biggest hope is to make the new site a permanent resource for all the families at Kahauiki Village — now and in the future.
“We want to make people know about our home,” said Dayson, fourth grader.
The Kids Tech Summit is a friendly competition hosted by national nonprofit Connected Nation (CN) and sponsored by AT&T. It provides an opportunity for students to use their digital skills to develop 100% student-led projects that directly benefit their communities and help narrow the Digital Divide.
The four finalists, including Kahauiki Village, will compete for cash prizes ranging from $7,500 to $2,000. They will present their projects to a panel of technology experts via a virtual event on Friday, April 22, which can be viewed by the public at this YouTube link.
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