Maui Business

Akakū’s YBEAM Program Receives Grant from HEI & MECO

May 7, 2015, 4:38 PM HST
* Updated May 7, 4:40 PM
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MECO President Sharon Suzuki (center) is a guest on the Akakū Maui Youth Weekly show, and visits Akakū. Shown here with Akakū CEO Jay April (center), Director of Education Kat Tracy and YBEAM alumni, (left to right) Annie Reickert, Dominque Wenzler-Steves and Austin Hutto. Photo courtesy YBEAM.

By Maui Now Staff

Akakū: Maui Community Media received a $12,000 grant for its Youth Broadband Education Awareness Mentoring (YBEAM) program from Hawaiʻi Electric Industries Foundation and Maui Electric Company.

“Maui Electric, as part of the HEI family, is deeply committed to supporting and strengthening the communities we live and work in,” said MECO President Sharon Suzuki. “We strongly support educational excellence, economic development and environmental stewardship in our communities and Akaku’s YBEAM program provides more opportunities for our Maui Nui students to gain hands-on experience in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math [STEM].”

“Having the support of MECO, one of our countyʻs largest employers, reinforces our commitment to STEM education” said Akakū Education and YBEAM Director Kat Tracy. “YBEAM is about technology, and technology is the use of tools and processes to solve problems. Iʻm thrilled they share our mission!”

YBEAM teaches youth how to produce short community video stories using broadband technology in an all mobile environment. Participants shoot, edit and distribute their content using Apple iPod Touches.


Youth produced stories air on cable channel 55 and online and on social networks.


Other program outcomes include civic engagement, media literacy and certification that enables stipend job opportunities.

YBEAM is free and is currently recruiting for summer. Applications are available at online.

YBEAM was developed with a grant from ZeroDivide out of San Francisco via a federal Broadband Technology Opportunity Program grant in 2011.


YBEAM is further supported with grants and donations from the Atherton Family Foundation; the Fred Baldwin Foundation; MEDB: Ke Alahele Education Fund; Whole Foods Market Maui and the Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk.

For more information call Tracy at (808) 871-5554 or go online.

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