For Immediate Release:
Press Release by:
Alice L. Lee, Council Chair
Maui County Council
Maui County Council receives national award for youth engagement
AURORA, Colorado—The National Association of Counties presented the Maui County Council with a 2022 Achievement Award in Civic Engagement and Public Information for the youth-focused ʻImi Pono Challenge at NACo’s annual conference last month, Chair Alice L. Lee announced today.
In the summer of 2020, Lee and her colleagues launched the ‘Imi Pono Challenge in collaboration with middle and high school students to create sustainable solutions to the negative social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lee said the program was created to inspire the youth of Maui County to be involved in community affairs and seek righteousness, or ‘imi pono.
“We wanted to harness ideas from Maui County’s young people and remind them they always have a seat at the table when it comes to community building and recovery,” said Lee, who holds the council seat for the Wailuku-Waihe‘e-Waikapū residency area. “We will continue to look at innovative ways to engage our youth and keep them connected to key issues.”
In a statement on its website announcing the council’s award, NACo said that “all participants—including the councilmembers, the students and their families, schools and communities—were enriched by the ʻImi Pono Challenge experience.”
Lee said there were 175 entries from 15 schools across the county. Winning participants were recognized and given the opportunity to connect with community mentors to bring their ideas to life, she said.
Lee said the council has partnered with Maui Economic Opportunity and others in the community to make ʻImi Pono a perpetual program.
“We are so excited that a program like this can be created and sustained,” said Debbie Cabebe, MEO’s chief executive officer. “The upcoming theme will be on the prevention of underage drinking and raising awareness of the dangerous appeal of juice-flavored alcoholic beverages.”
Cabebe said the program will mount a public-education campaign early in 2023, which include public service announcements, posters and appeals to merchants.
For more information, please contact the Office of Council Services at (808) 270-8008 or the office of MEO Chief Executive Officer Debbie Cabebe at (808) 249-2990.