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The Challenge

The mission of Voices of Pacific Island Nations (VOPIN) is to address the educational and opportunity gaps that Pacific Islander (PI) students and families face. Our programs and services are tailored to achieve multiple objectives based on data. For many years, PI students have been struggling academically, and the impact of poverty has hindered their academic progress. It has been suggested that there is a direct link between poverty and low educational achievement. According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), 68% of PI students qualify for "free and reduced" lunch, and 8% are homeless, which is a significant percentage relative to their total enrollment of only 1%. Seattle Public Schools report that 44% of PI students do not live with both parents.

The constant global changes in our environment have severely impacted Pacific Island Nations and their habitats. Scientific evidence has revealed that most of the Pacific Region will be uninhabitable in one to two decades. Currently, residents of several island nations have become "climate change refugees" and have been evacuated and displaced from their homes, dispersed to different parts of the world for a new environment. However, most of them find it challenging to adapt to their new surroundings due to cultural differences, especially language barriers, which create a sense of shame and stereotyping. If our PI students and families do not have access to the necessary resources to succeed, their struggles will continue year after year. Addressing one aspect of a more significant issue is difficult without considering our students' and their families' entire social and economic environments. Public and private interventions are necessary to tackle these challenges.

VOPIN is committed to delivering culturally responsive programs and services, fostering stronger relationships, and serving as a bridge between our students, schools, families, and the community.