Happy Lunar New Year! We hope you find many opportunities this year to celebrate happy moments with family, friends, and community. After all, researchers have suggested that when we stop to savor the good stuff, we buffer ourselves against the bad and build resilience—and even mini-celebrations can plump up the positive emotions which make it easier to manage the daily challenges that cause major stress.

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Opening Message

Mahalo Message

One of the goals of the RCSF project is to highlight the incredible folks working in our cohort of partnership schools. While these are challenging times for our kids, families, and educators, there are many individuals making a difference despite the difficult circumstances.

Here are two examples submitted by our partners at Pā’ia Elementary School. Mahalo for all that you do, Chad and Joyce!

Chad Fernandez is an aide at our school and he routinely goes above and beyond serving the needs of our students. Chad supports our students in special education, often in a one-to-one role. Whether assigned to a student for a day or a month, Chad does what is needed. He also helps out around campus when not with students. He has a caring presence and puts the students first.
Joyce McDougal is a substitute teacher. It can be extra difficult to find substitutes these days, especially for our kaiapuni program, which is Hawaiian immersion. Even with substitutes in short supply, Joyce often shows up, sometimes on short notice, despite any personal challenges she has. She cares about the students and Hawaiian culture enough to make supporting our school a priority.















2022 Legislative Session

Like the ripples caused by a rock landing in a pond, another one of the goals of the RCSF project is to support systemwide efforts that lead to greater resilience in our schools communities. To this end, we wanted to recognize a few efforts taking place in the 2022 Legislative Session that align with the goals of the RCSF project. Check out these great resources from the Legislative Reference Bureau’s Public Access Room to learn how you can track and support these bills.

1) HB1970/SB2482

This bill would establish a temporary Office of Wellness and Resilience within the Office of the Governor. Authorizes the Office to address issues and implement solutions to improve wellness and resilience, including issues and solutions identified by the Trauma-Informed Care Task Force.

      • An Office of Wellness and Resilience is more needed than ever, as the COVID-19 pandemic has been directly or indirectly devastating to many of our community members. Kids have lost parents and grandparents, have faced stressors due to financial hardship at home, and have become deeply disengaged from their schools, peers, and teachers. Of course, children faced abuse and trauma even before the pandemic, and these cycles can be incredibly difficult to break.
      • Trauma is an immense, complex challenge, requiring holistic strategies that draw upon trauma-informed and strengths-based approaches. An Office of Wellness and Resilience would help to break down silos and increase cross-sector collaboration.

The bill is being heard next week, so please submit testimony here by 1:15pm on Sunday, February 13!

Here is a tutorial if you need help testifying.

Here is sample testimony you can use.

2) HB1941

This bill would require the department of education to establish grant programs to provide funds for the planning and implementation of community schools.

      • The RCSF project embraces the Community Schools Model, as thriving learners, educators, families, ‘āina, and communities are supported by nurturing networks that promote reciprocity.

3) HB1699/SB2564

This bill would appropriate funds for the department of education’s resources for enrichment, athletics, culture, and health program to match federal dollars that the State receives for the 21st Century Community Learning Center.

      • This would increase state funding for afterschool from $500K to $6.1M, increasing access to high quality, comprehensive afterschool programs for thousands of middle school students.

4) SB2818

The bill would establish and fund the position of Summer Learning Coordinator within the Department of Education.

      • This position would coordinate DOE summer programs and work with community organizations and city and county programs to avoid duplication of efforts, target the most vulnerable students, connect parents and students to programs, and identify gaps in summer opportunities.


Resilience Resources

Check out this great resource from Brooklyn Center Community Schools to better understand how concepts like mindfulness, transformative social emotional learning, and anti-racism intersect in education.


It can sometimes be difficult to find quality local online programming, so we are excited by the resources compiled by the Waiwai Collective. Watch hours of creative and inspiring content, including programming that focuses on culture and resilience.


Vibrant Hawaii has many great resources, but we thought their recent post about stepping into your Nāwahī Space was timely and thought-provoking.



Take Action

The long-term goal of the Resilient Communities, Schools and Families project is to build long-term resilience, well-being and community abundance. As such, the project goes beyond communities and children merely surviving difficult situations, but instead finding their own strength and thriving. We hope to cultivate a spirit of hope and possibility to support the holistic wellbeing of the students of today and tomorrow. Please let us know if you can join this movement.

Take Action Now

Consortium Partners


This work is a true community effort and is made possible through the generous support of our partners, including:

  • Hawaiʻi Resilience Fund at the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation
  • The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
  • U.S. Department of Education Native Hawaiʻi Education Program #S362A210059

David is the founding executive director of HawaiiKidsCAN. He lives in Honolulu, HI.


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