In a collaboration led by Vibrant Hawaiʻi and Council Member Sue Lee Loy, the Vibrant Hawaiʻi Ambassadors had the opportunity to co-lead and facilitate a series of three design labs aimed at nurturing and revitalizing the Waiākea Peninsula.
Utilizing the Asset Based Community Development framework as a guide, diverse groups of stakeholders convened on October 16th and November 16th, 2023, each bringing a wealth of visions and innovative ideas to the forefront. With these community insights, the design labs facilitated meaningful future conversations for restoration and revitalization efforts that resonate with the community’s aspirations. Each Design Lab aimed to create a prototype mural design to be installed at the site of the former Uncle Billy’s Hotel. The mural will be a testament to the community’s hopes and dreams for the Waiākea Peninsula.
Here are some of the highlights from our youth Ambassadors:
"For many emerging adults, opportunities like this are unheard of. Meanwhile, the need for more cross-generational collaboration is urgent," says Amylia-Rae Gandolf, 23. "At the end of the day, this is as much our kuleana as it is everyone else's. I am proud to have a seat at this table."
Cienna Corpuz, 21, shared, "Growing up in Hilo, I’ve always felt a deep connection to this area, as it is such a memorable part of my childhood. My parents would take me to the ponds to play with my fishing net, or sometimes I would tag along with my grandparents as they took their strolls around the park. It's even where I took my pictures for school dances and prom. Many years later, being able to give back to the place that played a part in raising me brings me such a comforting and joyful feeling."
In reflection, she continued, "Witnessing these events unfold was such a special experience for me because I was in a space where people were coming together to be a part of something larger than themselves."
Trevondrick Francis, 21, also shared his experience, "Personally, the Design Lab gave me a lot of confidence and a strong sense of responsibility. Being in a room with a group of people who had more experience and knowledge than I do, I was surprised by how open they were to my perspective. Of course, nerve-racking, but at no point did I ever feel out of place or judged because, in the end, I was just another person in the community who wanted what was right for Hawaiʻi. I hope that I have inspired other youth to step into courageous space"
Expressing pride in their collective efforts, Cienna added, "I am extremely proud of the way these design labs turned out, as my team and I worked diligently to create and deliver them with quality. I am very grateful to play a small role in inspiring vast change within this community."