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Strength & Leadership

Be the Hero that You Are! | March 2023 Newsletter

Navigating Education (NE) is a component of VOPIN's Youth and Young Adults Services. For decades, Pacific Islander (PI) students have struggled academically due to the lack of culturally resonated programs available in schools. The NE program offers mentoring and tutoring and creates an environment where PI students and their peers share their cultural identity and a sense of belonging.


VOPIN believes that education is the equalizer of society and every student deserves a prosperous future. It's been two years since VOPIN has offered students direct services at Bremerton High School (Go Knights!), and a lot has happened. The NE program supports our students' social-emotional learning, academic support during and after school, student club, and other challenges facing them daily.  


"Ever since coming here, I've been understanding Math more and I've been maintaining an A in my math class." -Isabella F.



Isabella Fernandez

Isabella Fernandez was selected as the youth representative on VOPIN's Board of Directors. VOPIN's ‘Youth Board Member' project is a scholarship program to offer our youth training and development in leadership and civic responsibility and have their voices heard on issues that impact them. The two-year commitment comes with an academic scholarship upon completion of service.

Isabella was born in Silverdale, WA. She is the daughter of proud Filipino and Chamorro parents and is a responsible future leader. Her interests include playing soccer and basketball. She plans to join the military or attend a 4-year college after high school.

Jahmil Green

Jahmil Green received a certificate in Microsoft's computer application—Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Powerpoint. Being certified as a MOS Expert demonstrates you have advanced skills in essential Office programs.

"I try to stay positive! I like helping people and want to build things that would help people because I know what it's like."

Jahmil is a freshman at BHS, and his roots are African American and Chamorro. He is thinking about his future and maybe joining the military.

Isabella and Jahmil are participants in Navigating Education, and we at VOPIN are extremely proud of their achievements!



There is no 'one size fits all' way of teaching and learning. Empirical research shows that students do better in school if they have a sense of belonging and their identities are recognized. The academic crisis of PI students has overwhelmed the PI community for decades. The NE program is collaborating and striving with our partners to apply practical research to move the needle on academic achievement for PI students.

Data is crucial to VOPIN's efforts. At the midpoint of the 2022-23 semester 1, our data indicated a 57% failure rate in math. As we continue to collect other data, it is clear that the road ahead is a tremendous challenge to conquer. There are so many challenges our children struggle with daily. Of the eighty-plus students listed in our NE program, every student has experienced one or more ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). ACEs affect our children's ability to learn and thrive, leading to abnormal behaviors and devastating outcomes.



Be the Hero that You Are!

Our Success Starts with Your Gift campaign invites you to be part of the 'change' that will give hope to our young men and women by making a $ 10-a-month donation. Your donation will improve our 'Navigating Education' program by distributing our current 1:80 ratio of students interested in seeking a sense of belonging and hope for a brighter future.

On behalf of our children: Thank you, Fa'afetai tele, Mahalo, Si Yu'os Ma'ase, Salamat, Malo-e-lelei, Kinisou Kinisou chapur, Whakawhetai koe, for your gift to make a difference!


Other ways to donate:

Donate through Spave! Consider downloading the Spave app and direct a portion of your daily spending to VOPIN. Whenever you make a purchase using a credit or debit card linked to Spave, a percentage defined by you is deducted from your account and automatically distributed to your selected savings and giving accounts. You can also elect to give a one-time donation of any amount at any time using SpaveNow in the app. It’s a win/win - you save for your personal goals and help make the world a better place as you direct funds to causes you care about. 

King County employees: Donate through the King County Employee Giving Program

Washington State employees: Donate through the Washington State Combined Drive

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