Promoting Pono and Aloha during COVID

CDS E Ola Pono Ohana Challenge image
‘Ohana Pono Challenge Participants

In response to the Covid-19 situation, the annual statewide E Ola Pono Campaign launched the ‘Ohana Pono Challenge, an opportunity for Hawai’i families to nurture their mind (mana’o), body (kino), and spirit (‘uhane) during the stay-at-home mandate. For the past 13 years, the HIDOE and the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) have both endorsed this COE Center on Disability Studies coordinated campaign.

The ʻOhana Pono Challenge encouraged students and families to work together on activities or projects that promote Pono. To live Pono is to strive to do what is right for yourself, others, and the environment. Families from O’ahu, Maui, Hawai’i Island and Moloka’i participated by sending in submissions which included photos and/or videos about their activities. We presented cash awards weekly and monthly, along with other meaningful gifts such as a hardcover children’s book which delivered a story emphasizing a Hawaiian cultural value and/or a handmade travel konane game.

One of the aspects of this Challenge that was particularly rewarding was the feedback we received from the families, who felt encouraged to keep engaged by communicating with us, and sending us multiple submissions about all their activities which ranged from gardening together, playing games and completing puzzles together, learning new skills, such as going mauka to gather ho’io, then prepare it; sending zoom aloha by singing songs to shut-ins, digging deeper into their cultural practices, baking for neighbors, singing together, and the list goes on! For a preview of submissions, please visit, or our Facebook page: ‘Ohana Pono Challenge.

As an organization, our expectations for this Challenge were exceeded. Now as we come to a close, we are awarding the grand prize winners with a cash award and along with other meaningful gifts from our hearts to these amazing ‘ohana. We concluded that every ‘ohana who participated are winners, having given of their time to care enough to share their experiences with one another, so each ‘ohana will receive a special safely hand-delivered prize bag. It was our pleasure and honor to be able to present cash awards into hands of families, during this time of need, while seeing them thrive, rather than just survive, this season.

Contact: Sara Ka’imipono Banks
Growing Pono Schools
Phone: 808.479.1431

Read about the E Ola Pono Campaign 2019–20 school awards.

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