Ke Ala Hānau Moku: A Promise Neighborhood Initative

Background

The Promise Neighborhood Grant Program is an Obama-led initiative based on the educational model of the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ). The intent of this program is to significantly improve educational and developmental outcomes of all children in our most distressed communities, including rural and tribal communities, and to inevitably transform those communities by using the Harlem Children's Zone as a foundation for replication nationwide. This funding opportunity is being offered by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement.

The Harlem Children's Zone is a community based organization that offers a comprehensive strategy in addressing and ending generational poverty in distressed communities. The organization's efforts started in 1970 and has made a significant difference in improving educational outcomes for the most vulnerable children in Harlem. The agency began to work to strengthen families and build communities through a wide variety of programs --from The Baby College parenting workshop series to The Harlem Gems pre-kindergarten program to Community Pride, which creates and revitalizes tenant and block associations. Today HCZ serves more than 13,000 people, including more than 9,500 children. The agency and its President and CEO Geoffrey Canada have received numerous awards for their work and have been the subjects of media coverage by 60 Minutes, The New York Times and The Today Show. For more information, log on to: www.hcz.org.

Harlem Children's Zone and Hawaiʻi

In November 2009, representatives from INPEACE, the State Department of Education, Hawaiʻi P-20 Partnerships for Education, Kamehameha Schools, Good Beginnings Alliance as well as hundreds of others from neighborhoods across the nation attended a three-day conference on the Harlem Children's Zone in New York City. Participants were given an opportunity to hear keynote speakers U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan and HCZ CEO Geoffrey Canada as well as several others on the importance of education. In addition, they received incredible insight on the comprehensive strategies behind the Harlem Children's Zone.

Promise Neighborhood for Waiʻanae

As a result, in February 2010, the Hawaiʻi representatives shared their experiences from this conference with more than 40 heads of community organizations and residents in Waiʻanae. Those who participated in this event were asked to take the presentation information back to their respective communities to generate interest and participation in creating a Promise Neighborhood for Waiʻanae. Their feedback was overwhelming and positive. The community agreed to engage in the planning process to create a culturally appropriate and comprehensive strategy in addressing the needs of children and families in Waiʻanae.

Several organizations including non-profits, state departments, for-profits and most importantly, residents, have participated in collaborative community meetings to submit a proposal on behalf of Waiʻanae for a Promise Neighborhood.

Through several community meetings, participants named the project Ke Ala Hānau Moku, the rebirthing of a just community.

In June 2010, INPEACE submitted a proposal on behalf of this community-based initiative to plan a Promise Neighborhood for Waiʻanae. In this grant proposal, 24 organizations representing a broad spectrum of services signed a memorandum of understanding to engage in the planning process. This project is community driven with residents steering the process. The U.S. Department of Education intends to notify organizations who have been awarded under this grant program later this year.