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Strength & Leadership

June 2024 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

As we end the 2023-24 academic year, VOPIN's Navigating Education (NE) Project is excited to share updates and news with you!

It's a moment of immense pride for us to share the news of our seniors, who are part of VOPIN's Navigating Education project, graduating with the BHS Class of 2024! Their journey of hard work and dedication, and the unwavering support of our incredible Education Navigators, Volunteers, and Mentors, is a testament to the power of community in shaping success. We invite you to share in their triumph and be a part of their inspiring story.

Our task is not without its challenges. We have students who continue to face academic struggles and need all the support they can get. Whether through volunteering, sharing your expertise, or providing financial support, your involvement can be the turning point in our children's educational journey. Every contribution is a significant step towards their success, no matter how small. Your support is not just valuable, and it's indispensable. It's what ensures we can continue providing our children/students with the necessary resources and support. We are truly grateful for your generosity.

Save the Date: August 24, 2024 - Luau and Fundraiser

The 'Together for Education' annual luau fundraiser seeks additional support to continue our work at BHS and meet the demand from Kitsap School Districts and surrounding districts. Our current staffing of 3.5 FTEs is inadequate to meet the demand from Kitsap districts and surrounding districts such as Federal Way and Tacoma. Recently, the Bremerton district MVMS has reached out to us to assist in addressing the chronic absenteeism of PI students at their school, and the Federal Way district, where our NE Team has been a major partner in providing cultural resonance services regarding a sixth grader with severe behavioral and emotional trauma concerns. 

VOPIN is only a part of the saying: 'It takes a village to raise a child!' We need the community to help raise our children together! 

Fa'afetai tele, Mahalo, Si Yu'os ma'ase, Salamat po sa inyo, Malo-e-lelei, and Thank you for your incredible support of VOPIN's mission and vision! Together, we can continue to uplift and support our children, ensuring each child has every opportunity to succeed! 

With warmest regards,

The VOPIN Team

 The Navigating Education (NE) Project: Changing lives one student at a time

 Vadin Guerrero, Ladies & Gentlemen!

Let me proudly present Vadin Guerrero, a remarkable 10th grader whose unique journey led him to VOPIN's Navigating Education project. Vadin's path, characterized by his resilience, joy, and profound pride in his Chamorro culture and heritage, is a beacon of strength and determination—a narrative that deeply resonates with all of us and has a profound impact on our community.

During our first meeting, Vadin wasted no time expressing his love for his culture and proudly identifying as a Pacific Islander. When I introduced myself as Samoan, Vadin's immediate response was to remove his hoodie, revealing a T-shirt that boldly proclaimed his love for Guam: "I love Guam!" He pointed at his T-shirt and reiterated, "I love Guam." This simple yet powerful act speaks volumes about Vadin's character and ability to bring others joy through his cultural pride.

BHS students, Vadin's teachers, and our NE project staff are all in awe of his unique personality. Vadin is not just funny and caring, but he's unafraid to be himself and always up for a challenge! His warm heart and genuine kindness make him a cherished figure by every person who has the pleasure of knowing him. Vadin's unique personality, like his penchant for flirting with the girls, adds a special charm to his character. 

At one time, he told me about his four girlfriends... Every time our female students and staff descended to the first floor to escort Vadin to the third floor, once the elevator opened, Vadin would say, Ladies first! When the girls praise him, without skipping a beat, Vadin fires right back: I can cook you Samoan food! Things escalate to the next level when Vadin starts to sing songs by artists like Bob Marley and Samoan songs, and the girls start singing along and turn into one big island 'aiga' party! Admittingly, 'I can't even sing.' Vadin has a natural ability to put people at ease and is an entertainer in his own right! 

As the Executive Director of VOPIN, Vadin has taught me how to grow professionally and as a person. When I say to Vadin that we are leaving at 2:00 p.m., at 2:03 p.m., Vadin would say, Uncle Pat, it's time to go. I try to teach other students to follow his level of respect. Whenever I finish preparing his food during our after-school cultural activities, he always says, Thank you, Daddy! Every time I went to escort him to the third floor, with open arms and a big smile, he would say, I love you because you are my Samoan teacher! Whenever I converse with Vadin, he tells me in his own way that everything will be okay no matter what happens! It is humbling and inspiring to feel hope from the most unexpected Angel! 

Vadin's academic prowess was recently recognized with a prestigious Department Award for Literature from Bremerton High School. This significant milestone is a testament to his relentless hard work, dedication, and love for learning. It highlights his exceptional academic ability and inspires those who know him to strive for their best.

Vadin's journey is a powerful testament to the importance of supporting and celebrating every student's unique strength and ability. His story is not just about him but about the courage, values, Ohana/Aiga (family) and culture, and unyielding spirit of a young leader who truly makes the world a place where everyone feels they belong. We are incredibly proud of Vadin and all he has accomplished. His story inspires us all, and we are honored to have him as part of VOPIN's Navigating Education project. Keep shining, Vadin – your big heart and excellent personality light up our community and inspire us to strive for our best, making it stronger and more united!

Si Yu'os ma'ase (Thank you), Mr. and Mrs. Guerrero, for your unwavering trust and support. Your decision to allow Vadin to participate in VOPIN's Navigating Education project is a testament to your belief in his potential and your commitment to his success. Your trust in us and Vadin is truly an inspiration! We are deeply grateful for your support and belief in our mission and vision! 

-Uncle Patrick  

 The sky's the limit! 

Aniya, a student who truly embodies the spirit of learning, has embarked on an extraordinary journey with VOPIN's Navigating Education Project. Her willingness to take risks and subsequent success are testaments to her exceptional personal growth. 

During a recent casual conversation, she shared with us her journey and excitement with VOPIN's Navigating Education Project: Before I got involved with VOPIN, I was much shyer, timid, and did not have a lot of confidence. After I got involved, though, I was finally able to test my limits, gain more confidence, and experience what it was like to be in a leadership position. Aniya recently achieved the following:

  • Elected as the SGOC President (Student Government of Olympic College) Executive Council of the 2024-25 academic year.
  • Elected as the BHS Executive Secretary ASB (Associated Student Body) 2024-25 academic year.

Aniya's path to becoming an outstanding leader speaks for itself.  Although she has one more year of high school, she is already ten steps ahead. The sky's the limit of her abilities, and she has a bright and successful future ahead! We are extremely proud of Aniya's leadership experience and attainment growth!   

 Taluasa 'Lua' Enoka: A tale of tremendous triumph!

Taluasa "Lua" Enoka is a 17-year-old senior at Bremerton High School. Her journey to get where she earned her spot at BHS was not easy. Lua left her beloved home of Fagatogo, American Samoa, to further her education, and her aspirations landed her in Texas. However, she couldn't attend school there due to documentation-related issues. She decided to transfer to Bremerton to be closer to her family, and when Lua entered Bremerton High School as a senior, she was a year behind with credits.

Her goal to graduate on time pushed her to her limits. Her high school counselor doubled up her schedule so she could complete her 11th and 12th grade required credits to make up for the lost time in Texas. With hard work and belief in herself, and with the support of our Navigating Education (NE) team every step of the way, Lua is graduating with the BHS graduation Class of 2024! We are all incredibly proud of Lua for her achievement and conviction that "I can do this!"

Congrats, Lua! You did it!

 Keion Clark: Aiming high for the skies and soaring to great heights!

Keion's journey with NE has been a success story and a source of pride! He was a role model to his peers and took pride in everything he did. During his summer internship with VOPIN, Keion possessed a work ethic that set him apart from most people I have worked with in my entire work life. 

He consistently sets a high standard for himself and always talks highly of VOPIN's Navigating Education project. There is no doubt that Keion will excel wherever his north star takes him. After graduation, he will join the U.S. Air Force's elite Space Force Unit. He follows in the footsteps of his father, Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO) Ray Clark, who has twenty-plus years of service and is soon to retire. 'Salamat po sa inyo, Fa'afetai tele, Mahalo, Si Yu'os ma'ase, and Thank you,' Clark Family for your service!  

Keion knows VOPIN will always be his home away from home. From your VOPIN Family, with immense joy 'Congratulations' on your success, and may the force of the good Lord be with you always! CHEECHOO 

 Rick-Anthony Guerrero: Honor Cord Recipient

On May 27th, BHS recognized students who have shown leadership and academic excellence through their performance and participation in sports and subjects. The athletic department stated:

Rick Anthony Guerrero exemplifies dedication and commitment in physical education, having participated in an impressive seven semesters of PE. His consistent engagement and enthusiasm have not only set a high standard but also inspired his peers. Rick's unwavering dedication for fitness and sportsmanship has made him a role model within the department. It is with great pride that we present Rick Anthony Guerrero with this well-deserved Honor Cord award for his outstanding contributions to our department.

Congratulations, Rick, on this well-deserved recognition! As you step into the next chapter of your life as a graduate of the Class of 2024, we eagerly look forward to witnessing your continued success and achievements. 


Community Power embodies the collective strength, resources, and influence of individuals within a community who work together to address issues, advocate for causes, and improve their collective well-being. This power is created when individuals unite to achieve something bigger than themselves. By collaborating, individuals feel a sense of belonging, appreciation, and empowerment to contribute positively to their community's well-being.

 Hope is seeing light in spite of being surrounded by darkness - Thank You, ARTS Funds, for your Incredible Impact on the Mission and Vision of VOPIN!

The ARTS Fund has donated over $30,000 to the Mission and Vision of VOPIN via their Community Accelerator Grant. These grants have aided VOPIN in increasing its capacity for staffing and programs. The recent award will enhance our Arts and Culture and Internship summer projects and continue on into the school year 2024-25.

Fa'afetai tele, Mahalo, Si Yu'os ma'ase, Salamat po sa inyo, Malo aupito, Kilisou, Nga mihi, Vinaka, and Thank you for your generosity!      

 VOPIN is forever Grateful to the Suquamish Foundation for its Unwavering Support over the Years!

The Suquamish Foundation has consistently supported VOPIN's various projects over the years. These projects are designed to create opportunities for students of color and voiceless communities to thrive and overcome their challenges. Over eighty percent of the students supported by VOPIN come from families at or below the poverty level. Without the incredible support from the Suquamish Foundation, we wouldn't have been able to offer academic, social-emotional, and cultural support for our students to thrive. The foundation has generously donated over $10,000 to make a difference in the lives of our youth and young adults in our community!

Fa'afetai tele, Mahalo, Si Yu'os ma'ase, Salamat po sa inyo, Malo aupito, Kilisou, Nga mihi, Vinaka, and Thank you for your generosity!    

 Vibe Coworks donated the 'Aloha Sponsorship' level for the 2024 Annual 'Together for Education' Luau Fundraiser!

We express our deepest gratitude to Vibe Coworks for their generous sponsorship of our upcoming Together for Education event on August 24, 2024. Their support is instrumental in making this event a success and in helping us provide vital resources and opportunities to our Pacific Islander students.

Vibe Coworks' commitment to our community and their dedication to supporting education is truly inspiring. Their contribution will enable us to continue our mission of empowering students through culturally responsive education and mentorship.

We encourage other businesses and individuals to join Vibe Coworks in supporting our cause. Your sponsorship can make a significant difference in the lives of our students, helping them to achieve their academic and personal goals.

Together, we can create a brighter future for our youth. Thank you, Vibe Coworks, for leading the way!

 Pasefika (Pacific Islander) Language Survey

Hafa Adai, Talofa, Aloha, Malo e lelei, Kamusta na, Ran allum, Kia ora, Bula, Fakaalofa atu, Mauri, and Hello! 

The future of our community relies on our culture, arts and crafts, beliefs, and values. Losing our cultural identity is a path to culture extinguishment. To continue to preserve our cultural identity and better serve our community, we humbly request your assistance in completing this short anonymous survey. This information will help us develop programs addressing language and other barriers for our children, youth, and families.  

Take Survey


Have you purchased your tickets yet? -- You don't want to miss out on a fantastic evening of culture, cuisine, and community. Join us for our annual fundraiser and lū'au, where you can enjoy traditional performances, mouth-watering food, and great company. Don't wait any longer. Get your tickets now and be a part of something extraordinary. Your presence and support will help VOPIN achieve its mission and make a difference in the lives of our youth and young adults. As Helen Keller once said, "Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much." 

You can click 'My Ticket' or scan the QR Code on the flyer. We look forward to seeing you there!

 The Effects and Dangerous of Vaping

The Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) of Kitsap County is offering a Free Youth Presentation Circle on The Effects and Dangerous of Vaping! The Mayo Clinic and the CDC research on vaping.

 Employment Opportunity

Poulsbo Historical Society is looking to fill a part-time position as a financial clerk. To learn more about this position, please visit our website,

For inquiries about this position please contact PHS Director of Operations Mary Ann Accosta at

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child!

Unleash Your Inner Hero!

With a $10 monthly contribution, you can invest in a brighter future for our youth. It's not just a donation; it's an investment in their dreams and aspirations!

Together, we will enhance our Navigating Education project, igniting a sense of purpose and optimism to guide our students toward a prosperous future! Standing in unity for our Pasefika students, their voices resound with appreciation:

Fa'afetai tele, Mahalo, Si Yu'os Ma'ase, Salamat, Malo-e-lelei, Kinisou, Kinisou chapur, Whakawhetai koe.

'Thank you,' for your boundless generosity in making a monumental difference!

Embrace your inner hero and change lives today!

Be a Hero

Other ways to donate

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* Capital gains tax and NII tax rates range from 18.8% to 37.1%, depending on your income and locality. Donate through DonateStock

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

Washington State employees: Donate through the Washington State Combined Drive