UH Hilo Center for Place-Based Socioemotional Development (Hilo Center)

The Hilo Center

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Please email the UH Hilo Center at pbsed@hawaii.edu if you have questions or want to get involved!

Aloha and welcome to the UH Hilo Center for Place-Based Socioemotional Development, UH Hilo Center for Place-Based Socioemotional Development (Hilo Center) is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Hilo Center serves as a multifaceted equity lab that aims to improve the educational opportunities, wellbeing, and ultimately life outcomes for students from communities that have been undermined or have been provided with limited opportunities in the public education system. It strives to shrink the distance between research, community, service and teaching by developing projects that open pathways for collaboration among community service providers, educators, and UH Hilo students preparing or considering careers in education or youth development.

the Hilo Center Logo

The Hilo Center offers a university-based, formalized mechanism to assist schools in promoting more ecological, place-based approaches to support the healthy social and emotional development and wellbeing of children and youth in Hawaiʻi through its three interrelated service areas:

  • Research and Evaluation
  • Technical Assistance and Professional Development
  • Dissemination

Ka Pouhana Mentoring Program

Would you like to be a part of the Ka Pouhana Mentoring Program?

Peer Mentors sitting on the grass

Peer Mentors at recruit event

Peer Mentors training in the field

Ka Pouhana Program Main Logo

Our program is not designed to replace existing mentoring programs. Rather, Ka Pouhana provides foundational support for our local students, and cultivates their leadership potential. We encourage all of our mentees to take advantage of all of the great mentoring programs and student support at our university.

The Ka Pouhana Mentoring Program is funded by the Oak Foundation Fund at the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation .

The Ka Pouhana Mentoring Program is the Hilo Center’s inaugural service project. Ka Pouhana offers a community-based program that provides peer-to-peer and faculty-to-peer mentoring opportunities for UH Hilo students from Hawaiʻi. In Fall 2022, 10 faculty mentors and peer mentors will serve between 45-50 first-year students through their first two years of balancing academics with their other responsibilities, while uplifting their passions and gifts. Below is a list of just some of what our students can expect:

  • Connect with a mentor from Hawaiʻi Island who understands the unique challenges and opportunities ahead of you!
  • Gain a faculty advocate who looks out for you and helps you on your academic pathway!
  • Gain a strong sense of belonging by connecting, socializing and forming meaningful relationships with haumāna and community leaders from Hawaiʻi Island
  • Learn how to serve our communities from local community leaders in ways that uplift us
  • Cultivate your leadership skills and uphold your kuleana in service to ʻāina and community
  • Gain access to networks and resources that will help you achieve your academic and career goals
  • Co-create and participate in events and activities
  • Have fun!

Learn More about

What We're Learning: Research and Evaluation

Research and Evaluation
The Hilo Center conducts participatory research and evaluation that aims to lead to action. We examine how policies and practices in education impede or facilitate the social and emotional development and wellbeing of children and youth. We partner with community groups, nonprofits, and schools to develop participatory, place-based initiatives to address community wellbeing and the socioemotional health of our students designed to disrupt structural oppressions.

Workshops & Presentations
The Hilo Center offers various workshops and presentations to share what we are learning in our research and provide ways to apply research and evidence to supporting children, youth and families, as well to support community advocacy efforts and affect policy. If you are interested in setting up a workshop or presentation about what we are learning please contact us at pbsed@hawaii.edu

How We Support Schools

Technical Assistance
We offer our assistance to schools, complex areas, and Out-of-School Time programs to help them develop localized, integrated, systems-based approaches to strategic planning and practices that uplift their students and families, optimal conditions for student success.

Professional Development
We provide professional development for schools and OST programs in designing optimal learning environments, place-based SEL, Trauma and wellbeing.

About Our Team

Margary Martin Headshot
Margary Martin
Executive Director, UH Hilo Center for Place-Based Socioemotional Development

Kalehua Kukahiko Headshot Kalehua Kukahiko
Center Coordinator, UH Hilo Center for Place-Based Socioemotional Development

Candice Miner-Ching Uʻilani Miner-Ching
Research Associate, UH Hilo Center for Place-Based Socioemotional Development

Ivee Cruz Headshot
Ivee Cruz
Director of Wellness, UH Hilo Center for Place-Based Socioemotional Development


For more information about the UH Hilo Center, please email us at pbsed@hawaii.edu.