As 2023 nears the end and we enter into the season of Makahiki, our team is incredibly grateful to our school and community partners and is taking the opportunity to reflect on the past year of transition, connection and growth. We recognize that these have been very difficult times for families and educators, and that it often takes many acts of unseen resilience to get through each day, week, and month. While there is much uncertainty ahead, we’re heartened by the immense courage and collective support being demonstrated across our broader community.

Lastly, mahalo to YOU for continuing on this journey with our team and project. Every bit of support and encouragement we’ve received has made a tremendous difference.

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Opening Message

Sharing our story

The RCSF team has been busy sharing our story and lessons from the project. The team was well represented at the Hawaii Afterschool Alliance’s ʻAha Lōkahi Hawaiʻi CommUNITY Conference 2023 in October, with Dawn Rego-Yee, Madeline McKinnon, Ernie Belaski-Epstein, Trish Papalimu, Scott Nishimoto, and Ashleigh Loa speaking across several different opportunities to offer a positive vision for school and community resilience. The event culminated in the Lights On Afterschool rally at Hawai’i State Capitol. You can get a sense of the wonderful energy at the conference and rally from these video highlights produced by Studio Shaka at Connections Public Charter School.

Dawn and Shelly Tokunaga-May also presented at the 2023 Schools of the Future Conference on the Hā Ola ‘Ohana Resilience Program in November. The session focused on how RCSF partner schools and health centers collaborate to add capacity and ensure holistic wrap-around services are available to families.

Welcome, Kaipo!

Kaipo Elua Correa is the Community School Coordinator at Blanche Pope Elementary ame Ke Kula Kaiapuni O Waimānalo on the eastern coast of Oʻahu. Her connection with the school goes back four generations since its opening. She is an alumna, a parent of students within the school, and has been very involved in school functions, events, committees and groups. Kaipo served as the school’s Parent Teacher Organization president and was able to make connections with families, staff, and community members. She recently graduated with her Bachelors in Social Work from the Thompson School of Social Work at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and she looks forward to creating partnerships within the school and community that support learning, strengthens families, and stimulates a healthy community.


What’s next

As the Community Schools model continues to expand to more schools in Hawaii, the RCSF project will continue to provide support to diverse communities, schools, families, and organizations who are interested in holistic, trauma-informed approaches to education. Our project website should be launched by the end of 2023, and we look forward to expanding our outreach to convene new partners and share lessons learned. We’ll also share updates on Hawaii’s progress to become a trauma-informed state through the efforts of the State Office of Wellness and Resilience. Please stay tuned for some overall project highlights in our December newsletter.

Resilience Resources

The ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict is devastating on a human level, and is likely another traumatic event that can cause as a stressor for both youth and adults. Fittingly, Ceeds of Peace has put together a thoughtful resources guide on the conflict that can be especially helpful with navigating this context for families, schools, and workplaces.


The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement’s (CNHA) 22nd Annual Native Hawaiian Convention was held this November at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Videos from the convention’s speeches and panels are available here, touching on a range of topics from community resilience to health.


The holidays can be a difficult time for many people. Here are some tips from the National Alliance on Mental Illness on surviving painful holiday emotions.



November 28 marks Lā Kūʻokoʻa, Hawaiian National Independence Day, which celebrates the signing of the Anglo-Franco Proclamation between England and France that formally recognized Hawaiʻi as an independent, sovereign nation on November 28, 1843. Kanaeokana has a listing of Lā Kūʻokoʻa celebrations on their Instagram account and a short YouTube video overview. You can also learn more about Timoteo Haʻalilo on the Kaulumaika Instagram account and a longer reading from Ka Wai Ola.



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.

Don’t forget to follow the project on social media!

  1. Facebook (Designed as a group vs page to enable more community discussion and engagement):
  2. Twitter@RCSFHawaii
  3. Instagram@ResilientcommunityHI

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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