Maui News

Maui Student Launches Aloha Initiative Scholarship Program

November 22, 2011, 6:33 AM HST
* Updated November 22, 6:35 AM
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By Wendy Osher

Mariel Jacinto.

A Maui student has launched a scholarship program in coordination with the Aloha Initiative to further help victims of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incidents in Japan.

Mariel Jacinto will help to coordinate the scholarship program as part of her senior project at King Kekaulike High School.

Under the program, students from the devastated Tohoku region of Japan will be offered scholarships to study at any Hawaii-based educational institution.

Jacinto is also selling Aloha Initiative bracelets with proceeds from the $2 sales to benefit the program.

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Although she is not of Japanese ancestry, Jacinto said she is fascinated with the people and culture. “This is a unique opportunity to do something for Japan and the community who experienced so much devastation,” said Jacinto.

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The idea was initiated by some of Hawaii’s host families who opened their homes to the tsunami and radiation victims earlier this year.   They came up with the idea after young adults whom they housed expressed interest in pursuing higher education in Hawaii.

Keith Regan, one of the founders of the Aloha Initiative, is spearheading the program.  He said he hopes to sponsor as many students as possible, but is calling on other businesses and individuals to contribute to the scholarship fund.

Students will be considered for scholarships upon showing proof of a student visa and certificate of displacement.  They will be selected based on financial need and other criteria to be determined by the scholarship committee led by Regan.

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For more information, or to find out how you can assist, call 244-6042.

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