LT Will Uplift ʻŌpio Voices through New Council


Photo: Amy Gilbert

By Amy Gilbert

The Queen’s beneficiaries are leading the way forward during a time of major programmatic and facility growth at Liliʻuokalani Trust.

A youth advisory council called “Nā Leo o Kamakaʻeha (NLoK)” was formed this summer for ʻōpio to provide input and youth voices in the implementation and design of Liliʻuokalani Center, a 97,000-square-foot space for sports, arts, entrepreneurship, and technology scheduled to open in 2025.

Nā Leo o Kamakaʻeha
Nā Leo o Kamakaʻeha members from left to right: Arien Dezafra, Hema Watson, Ashley Badis, Grayson Kostron, Pōmai Kauahi-Daniels, and Keʻalaʻiliahi Ford. – Courtesy Photo

Kamakaʻeha roughly translates to “the smarting of her eyes” and represents the pain often experienced by Hawaiian youth.

“We are the voices of our collective eyes, just like the Queen’s, being sore in a world without influence and wanting to make a change,” said Landon Chinen, manager of Youth Leadership. “It pains us, but pushes us to make the best of Hawaiʻi and nā keiki. Liliʻu’s still-living leo (voice) is within us as we carry her legacy and our future to pave the way for Hawaiians after us to do the same.”

The initial cohort includes Ashley Badis, Arien Dezafra, Keʻalaʻiliahi Ford, Pōmai Kauahi-Daniels, Grayson Kostron, and Hema Watson.

“We are consultants for Liliʻuokalani Trust to assist in providing ideas primarily towards Liliʻuokalani Center, which will be one the largest Indigenous youth centers in the nation and potentially the world,” said Ford. “Aside from providing feedback on the center, our main objective as a group is youth advocacy and to serve various communities.”

NLoK will consist of multiple cohorts of youth working alongside LT teammates to share insights and perspectives while gaining the skills and confidence to make decisions within LT and their communities.

While the initial program includes six ʻōpio from ages 18-22, future cohorts are anticipated to be twice as large and will include youth ages 16-26.

The hope for NLoK, along with all LT youth leadership programming, is to bring young people together and provide the tools and platform for them to work collaboratively, serve as leaders at LT and within their communities, and help shape the future.

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.