Kūkulu Alaka‘i ‘Iolani

The mission of Kūkulu Alaka‘i ‘Iolani ("The Creation of Leaders") is to raise life outcomes of under-resourced students through a comprehensive longterm program that provides educational opportunities, critical life skills, and individualized support from middle school through postsecondary education.



The KA‘I Program began in 2010 as a public-private school partnership between ‘Iolani School and Jarrett Middle School in Palolo Valley. This partnership has since grown to include the high schools in which KA‘I students enroll.

Long-Term Achievement

Once accepted into the KA‘I Program, students commit to daily summer attendance from 7th Grade through 12th grade for six consecutive summers.

Each year, a new group of rising 7th grade students from Jarrett Middle School joins the Growing ‘ohana of KA‘I students and graduates.

Young ‘Iolani alumni as well as KA‘I seniors and graduates serve as student mentors throughout the summer and school year.

Postsecondary Support

The KA‘I Program recently expanded to support students into and through appropriately-matched postsecondary pathways, including college, community college and vocational training.

* Nearly 90% of our students will be the first in their family to graduate from high school or college.


The KA‘I Program fosters a culture of achievement that supports students to:

  • Graduate from high school
  • Become leaders within their school community
  • Pursue pathways of success and higher education in an area of personal passion
  • Contribute towards the betterment of their local community


The KA‘I Program addresses the "summer slide" and resulting achievement gap that occurs during the summer for low-income youth by providing these students the opportunity to attend a high-quality program each summer for six summers from sixth to 12th grade, without any cost to the family. Across the country, programs such as KA‘I have been shown to stem the achievement gap, resulting in highly improved high school graduation and college matriculation rates for participants.


"The KA‘I Program has left a huge impact on my life by opening many doors for me educationally. I feel that the KA‘I Program has given me more than just and education but another family. The program has also given me great life lessons that could never be learned in a regular classroom. I am forever grateful that I was put in the KA‘I Program and I love everyone in it." -- Sonny

‘It makes me look forward to summer every year. It has created a family within our group and we get closer every summer. I enjoy coming every day and I have never missed any day. I wouldn’t be the same without KA‘I.” -- Eugene

“Without KA‘I, I never would have had the amazing opportunities I have had. I’ve met new people who started as friends, but became more like family. KA‘I has made my life way brighter. It taught me to be a better influence on younger kids and to be a better role model for myself. KA‘I changed my life in a good way. It gave me more opportunities to see my best friends that now go to other schools. I am thankful to be a part of this program.” -- Tina

“KA‘I has given me such great opportunities that even though this program is in the summer, I look forward to it every single year. It really helped me with transitioning from a small school to a bigger school. It also helped me to develop skills like public speaking. This program has allowed me to gain confidence in myself and build leadership skills. It has given me a group of great friends that I love like family. This program is really a blessing in my life.” -- Terese

“All I can say is that KA‘I has really changed me inside and out. In other words, I am better academically in school and out. I also have become a better leader to me and those I surround myself with. I truly believe that KA‘I is the best opportunity that was ever given to me and I appreciate that. Thanks to all the teachers and mentors that have supported me through this program. KA‘I is awesome! I Love it!” -- Brooklyn


KA‘I would like to recognize and extend a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to it’s amazing program sponsors:

  • Bill Reeves and Debbie Berger
  • The McInerny Foundation
  • Bank of Hawai’i Foundation
  • Nan Inc.
  • Honu’apo
  • The Chamberlin Family Foundation
  • American Savings Bank
  • Roberts Hawai’i
  • Sodexo
  • Jarrett Middle School
  • ‘Iolani School
  • The Good Samaritan Episcopal Church
  • ‘Iolani Alumni Association
  • and many generous individuals


Allison Ishii Blankenship, Kūkulu Alaka‘i ‘Iolani Director
aishii@iolani.org or kai.program@gmail.com
(808) 220-8616


Click oo download Kūkulu Alaka‘i ‘Iolani brochure (PDF).