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Island Grad Organization
Island Grad Organization
Island Grad Organization
Island Grad currently has a team of 4 impactful leaders. Our work is important to our organization because we utilize our skillset, experience with community, professional background and relationships in the community to build a strong foundation for Island Grad. Our Cultural and Creative Designer attended digital design school with 20 years of experience in digital, textile, woven, and mixed media design. Her love for our Pasifika cultural art along with her immense background in all forms of art provided Island Grad with professional, unique, cultural and exquisite art pieces starting with our logo, marketing materials, fabrics, stoles, staging, letterhead, COVID-19 educational templates, and so much more. Our website designer helped us from the start of our non-profit to creating our own Island Grad website to feature our NHPI students and create a website that is our central location for our information. Our Marketing specialist is a current college journalism major, who is a vital team member for all our marketing materials from social media to printed materials. Her background in writing skills has helped our team to elevate our writing, messaging, and communication on a larger scale. We are strengthened by the relationships of our school and college districts, community organizations, faith-based organizations, Pasifika Inland Empire Coalition for Empowerment, National Black Grad, National Pacific Islander Education Network, college PISA clubs, high school NHPI clubs and advisors, assembly members, and more. Our shared vision is to add the following team roles to Island Grad: alumni leader, paid internships, outreach specialist, school & college district liaison, and especially an accountant.
About the Organization:
$0 - $50,000
Island Grad seeks to address the lack of visibility for our Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders (NHPI) in educational settings, the decline in high school graduation rates, a need for our Pacific Islander data to be desegregated, numerous social determinants of health factors negatively impacting health, and the marginalization of one’s identity. In educational institutions, NHPI students are likely to not have a NHPI staff member, educator, or leader that could identify with their experiences. The Campaign for College Opportunity (CCO), it is stated that for every 13 White students at a Cal State Universities, there is one White Faculty member, as opposed to every 102 NHPI students there may be a NHPI Faculty member. Far too often our NHPI students will experience a lack of NHPI representation and will receive little to no advocacy for them or their family’s needs. Especially since our NHPI students are often left out of the data, goals, differentiated methods, culturally relevant practices and/or opportunities. For example, our NHPI students are overlooked for programs like STEM because of the stereotypes that NHPI students are not believed to be interested in science, technology, engineering, and math. The CCO notes that the achievement gap for NHPI students widens because of the lack of funding, increasing rates of students transferring to continuation schools and students not graduating high school with A-G requirements met. NHPI data needs to be desegregated, specifically to determine the needs both academically, socially and personally for our NHPI students. Frequently, NHPI students will be grouped with Asian American students or may not be accounted for at all. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention share that social determinants of health have impacted NHPI students' educational journey, from issues of poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, transportation, depression, and high comorbidities, that have contributed to severe COVID-19 related illness and death. Many NHPI students are then required to leave school, be absent; so they can care for their family and siblings. NHPI students experience marginalization of their identity from our school institutions to our surrounding communities that overlook and dismiss the needs of NHPI students consistently.
Our organization addresses the needs of NHPI students through visibility in culture, community and celebration. Celebrate: Island Grad creates visibility for NHPI through our celebration of high school, college, technical schools, military and graduate school graduates. Acknowledging and honoring the achievements of NHPI graduates at all levels and with their families, friends, NHPI community and extended community are invaluable. Celebrating NHPI graduates on stage provides a powerful representation for all NHPI communities to witness the need to succeed in education starting from high school onto any form of education they are passionate in pursuing. Culture: Pan Pasifika cultural practices are woven into the Island Grad ceremony from blowing the pu’ to mark the beginning of our ceremony to having our grads engage in the Maori haka, to lead in as warriors overcoming battle and embarking on a new journey together. The NHPI graduates identity is strengthened by the love and pride shared by Pasifika cultures. We provide cultural workshops for connection, sharing and learning about the cultural practices included in the ceremony. Our vision is to continue learning our Pasifika cultural practices directly from our indigenous communities in the islands. We plan to visit the islands once a year to learn indigenoud ways of learning and celebration, so we can bring it back to our students' learning experiences. Community: Island Grad offers college visits, family support, COVID-19 vaccination resources, income assistance, NHPI synergy days, supporting high school with a NHPI framework to create a club, creating Pacific Islander Parent Task Force and outreaching with our community at various school and community events. Island Grad intentionally connects with our cross-cultural communities to help bring visibility and understanding for our NHPI community. We collaborate with k-12 districts, college districts, public health, behavioral health, health care, faith-based communities, and the National Black Grad organization. Island Grad addresses the social determinants of health for our students because we are able to reach NHPI students through our ceremony. We have used our platform to help teach, educate and speak to our community about NHPI needs and desegregated data points.