SHYLI Waimea Youth Delegates at Pu'u Wa'awa'a Ranch

We are extremely proud of Tania, Elijah, Trevor and all the youth delegates we've met through the SHYLI program. They have exhibited their interests towards becoming future leaders in global sustainability and in essence, are following the footsteps of great leaders, who have traveled along the ala pono, the righteous path.
Danny Akaka

I am very proud of the youth we supported to go to Martha's Vineyard. They are the future leaders of Hawaii.
Henk Rogers

On a quiet Friday evening in August driving up to the Pu'u Wa'awa'a Ranch, I was curious what kind of characters I would encounter. To a merely curious eye, one may see the iridescent hills undulating amidst a sea of monochrome rock. In the heart of these hills lies Pu'u Wa'awa'a Ranch, a completely energy independent enterprise on 100,000 acres which truly epitomizes "off the grid." 

My fellow youth delegate, Elijah Anakalea- Buckley, SHYLI emerging leader, Trevor Tanaka, and I gathered to share our experiences at the 11th Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development and Gandhi Youth Forum on the island of Martha's Vineyard. I was nervous about how I would present myself. As soon as I arrived and set foot under the repurposed barn roof, my concern was countered with an atmosphere one could only describe as wholly and completely supportive. For though I was the youngest person in the room, I was treated with a mutual respect shared amongst the adults (notably of high stature). 

After Danny Akaka led us in a Hawaiian chant, we opened with  the video we produced at the Summit.  We shared our plans for our Sustainability-In-Action Projects. We thanked our sponsors with a  DVD collection of our Summit presentations .

We congregated around a table, all of us partaking in a casual conversation on the topic of sustainability. Henk and Akemi Rogers, the owners of Pu'u Wa'awa'a Ranch, Paul Ponthieux, Danny and Anna Akaka with their daughter, Kalei, Wayne Higaki, North Hawaii Community Hospital, UH Board of Regents - West Hawai'i, Waimea Middle Public Charter School community liaison Patti Cook, SHYLI's Executive Director Marianne Larned and our parents: Terry Tanaka, Titaina and Mark DuPont.
Their power was demonstrated through their passion. I deeply resonated 
with the diversity of these leaders. I was inspired by their ability to make individual changes that contributed to the larger goal of a sustainable future for Hawaii and the world. I was inspired by our host, Henk Rogers. The Ranch is his dream. After gaining his fortune by founding his company Tetris to develop video games, Henk turned his attention towards making a difference in the world. He invested in the Ranch as a demonstration project for the Blue Planet Foundation and its Energy Lab's innovations. "I'd been living in boxes all of my life, trapped within walls," he recalls. "This was more than a matter of thinking outside of the box. I thought, 'Why not just get rid of the box altogether'?"

Touring the Pu'u Wa'awa'a Ranch's Energy Lab enabled Elijah, Trevor and I to see first hand the sustainable practices happening on our own Island. The Energy Lab utilizes different models of renewable energy methods to discover the most efficient ones for the Ranch -- harnessing solar energy, wind turbines, and hydrogen fuel. Employing practices that make the Ranch a significant example of innovative technologies and sustainability demonstrates the possibility of a self-sufficient future for our Island by conserving ecological balances by avoiding the depletion of natural resources.

As I looked around the table I observed the faces in front of me. I heard their stories. I saw their intentions and I experienced their virtue. While each person was different, we breathed this unanimous moment of harmony, our hearts beating for the same purpose. Danny Akaka concluded our event: "Unity is diversity in harmony." 

Tania DuPont, Junior
Hawaii Preparatory Academy

Maholo To Our Supporters on Hawaii Island
Henk and Akemi Rogers * Paul Ponthieux, Blue Planet Research

It was a pleasure to be exposed to students that are not only engaged in their lives
but also engaged in the world around them.
Wayne S. Higaki, Chief Development Officer, North Hawaii Community Hospital, 
UH Board of Regents - West Hawai'i

It was an honor and a privilege to sponsor these Big Island youth to attend the Youth Leadership Summit on Martha's Vineyard. We need young leaders to carry on the quest of a sustainable existence
for all living things on this spaceship we call Earth.
Vincent Paul Ponthieux, Director & CTO, Blue Planet Research

SHYLI captured my interest for two reasons: High school students must identify a personal area of interest connected to sustainability and do something about it now. Then SHYLI connects them to seasoned professionals as mentors. I find our Island youth often don't have deep confidence in their own abilities, harboring self-doubts. Students become directly involved in making things happen...becoming real contributors. SHYLI provides opportunities for them to find their own voice by presenting in public. It's very self-empowering while helping youth develop a support network. SHYLI reaches out to youth who are first in their family to attend college. They help students focus on serious project work that earns them a better resume and makes them attractive to colleges.  I thank the funders who've seen the wisdom of investing in SHYLI and urge others to consider becoming a contributor of time and resources. 
Patti Cook, Waimea Middle Public Charter School Community Liaison


SHYLI's Call to Action
Join with us to help realize their dreams!
Career Mentoring & Job Shadow Day * Sustainability-In-Action Projects 
SHYLI Design Sustainable Hawaii Forum: 2016 * Our Sustainable Islands Technology Initiative

The Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative's mission is to inspire young people to envision, plan and create a more sustainable future for their lives and their islands. Founded in 2010 on Hawaii Island, SHYLI expanded to Lanai (2012) and Oahu (2014). The 2015 Youth Delegates represent Hawaii's diverse cultures - native Hawaiian, Japanese, Filipino, Mexican, Puerto Rican and Samoan. In SHYLI's year-round Fellowship Program youth receive ongoing leadership training. After the Summit they refine their Sustainability-In-Action Projects. At events around the island and state, they showcase their projects develop public speaking, writing, presentation skills. At SHYLI's Job Shadow Day youth are matched with business, government and academic professionals in their fields of interest. At SHYLI's Design Sustainable Hawaii Forum youth share their vision and their progress with their projects with Hawaii's decision makers from business, public policy, education and nonprofits. Founded in 2010 on Hawaii Island, SHYLI expanded to Lanai (2012) and Oahu (2013). SHYLI is a project of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute, a 501c3 non-profit education organization

Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative
PO Box 1235, Kailua-Kona, HI 96745 *
Stone Soup Leadership Institute *