By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

With the many changes happening in today’s world it can be difficult to pursue an education and balance the other aspects of life. Having a mentor to support your journey can make all the difference in persevering or selling yourself short. 

ʻAʻaliʻi Mentoring is a great opportunity for young adults to receive guidance and support throughout their educational journey. The founders, Catherine Ching and Grace Saturnia, began the program with the intent of helping young adults from underserved communities navigate and persevere in higher education. The program is in its first year and will run from August 2021 to May 2022. Currently, the program has partnered 7 mentee and mentor pairs and hopes to connect more in the following years.

The ʻaʻaliʻi is a native plant that was chosen to represent the program because of its resilience and beauty. The plants are able to thrive in adverse conditions with varying elevations and environments. An ʻōlelo noʻeau says, “He ʻaʻaliʻi kū makani mai au, ʻaʻohe makani nāna e kulaʻi.” Translated, this means, “I am a wind-resisting ʻaʻaliʻi, no gale can topple me over.” The goal of ʻaʻaliʻi mentoring is to have mentees be confident in themselves and embody the qualities of the ʻaʻaliʻi.

As a mentee currently in the program, it is amazing to have an adult mentor to talk to about academics and other hardships that I encounter along the way. Being mentored has also helped me see other opportunities that are available to me career-wise and I am able to plan my future more efficiently now that I have insight from someone who understands what the real world is like.

‘A’ali’i Mentoring provides community service opportunities that help to bring mentors and mentees closer together. (Photo by Cameron Enomoto)

The program also has financial literacy classes for the mentees which is extremely helpful when it comes to investing and creating a budget. Prior to learning about financial topics, I had difficulties managing my paychecks and understanding how credit and different types of interest work. I feel more comfortable about banking and credit cards with the information that was shared in the finance class.

In addition to lessons relating to life skills, ʻAʻaliʻi also provides its mentees and mentors with community service opportunities. In September, the program partnered with 808 Cleanups to do a sweep of Kapiʻolani Park. It was a great experience and everyone had a great time learning about the history of the park while also cleaning up.

Overall, the program is a great way for young adults to connect with others their age and also learn more from adults who have a lot to offer. My favorite part about ʻAʻaliʻi Mentoring is being able to grow with my mentor and take in their knowledge while also sharing things that I have learned. 

To learn more about ʻAʻaliʻi Mentoring, visit the website or the Facebook page.