By Amy Gilbert
Liliʻuokalani Trust’s “Tūtū’s Hale” program is held in a space that makes you feel as if you are walking into the home of a treasured kupuna.
From the portraits on the wall to the slippers outside the front door, the program at LT Waimānalo is for youth who live or have ʻohana roots in the area, allowing them the opportunity to gather, connect, and learn new things.
First piloted in 2022, Tūtū’s Hale was a 12-week afterschool program for 10 kamaliʻi who participated in expressive art and ola kino (physical health) activities, creating a holistic approach to wellness.
Today, the program has evolved into a nine-month place-based, weekly afterschool program for 18 kamaliʻi focused on increasing cultural awareness, encouraging self-expression, and strengthening the connection to self, family, and community.
“Tūtūʻs Hale not only teaches self-discovery but empowers the next generation of kamaliʻi to carry on the traditions and values of their ancestors, following the Hawaiian proverb ʻka wā ma mua, ka wā ma hope,’ standing firmly in the present, eyes fixed on the past, seeking historical answers for present day dilemmas,” said Hiʻipoi Ho, direct service specialist.
Youth learn about themselves and their home through modules on the various parts of Waimānalo, including ahupuaʻa, kānaka, wai, kai, and ʻāina.
During their midyear hōʻike in August, the Queen’s beneficiaries demonstrated what they learned by introducing themselves: sharing their name, where they’re from, and what they want to be when they grow up – all ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (in Hawaiian language).
Mākua expressed an overall appreciation for the program, with consistent sentiments that it was “a safe, comfortable space” and “a place where they learned and grew a lot.”
In April 2023, LT completed renovations to its Waimānalo space — one of the many projects undertaken to update and expand LT spaces across the pae ʻāina.
Tūtū’s Hale has reached its participant capacity, but if you’d like to learn more about the program, contact LT’s Hi’ipoi Ho (email@example.com) or Shay Keliiholokai (firstname.lastname@example.org). To get connected to Liliʻuokalani Trust resources in your area, please call the Mālama Line at 808-466-8080.
Amy Gilbert is a communications and marketing intern at Liliʻuokalani Trust. She is excited to be part of an organization that supports thriving Hawaiian children and upholds the legacy of Queen Liliʻuokalani.