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

Ka Pouhana Mentoring Program

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

Join Ka Pouhana.

The Hilo Center provides a place-based, tiered approach to support the mental health, wellbeing,and post-secondary pathway support of local youth. Ka Pouhana is an innovative student- driven mentoring program developed by local students for local students to grow and secure the pipeline to college for youth on Hawaiʻi Island.

Ka Pouhana Program Main Logo

Apply to be a peer mentor

Calling all Kamaʻāina Sophomores and Juniors

Ka Pouhana is recruiting Peer Mentors for next academic year

Ka Pouhana Mentor Recruitment FlyerGreat Pay, Great Service, Great Fun


The tiered mentoring program is modeled on a number of successful student-led and partnership mentoring models, as well as previous research on adolescent development and student supports conducted by Dr. Margary Martin, Executive Director of the Hilo Center and Associate Professor in UH Hilo’s School of Education, who will lead the mentoring program. Ka Pouhana is funded by the Oak Foundation Fund at the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation.

Read about the Ka Pouhana Program (on pages 3 & 4) in the March edition of the online magazine, University Town.

Peer Mentors in the field

Ka Pouhana Recruitment Table

Peer Mentors Presentation

The name of our program is derived from the ʻŌlelo Noʻeau book by Mary Kawena Pukui, a pillar in the Hawaiian community. Hawaiian proverb #1544, Ka Pouhana can be translated to English as “The Main Post”. Ka Pouhana mentoring program is designed to be the “mainstay” cultivating leadership of local students pursuing a higher education at UH Hilo by providing guidance, support, and relationships to last a lifetime.

When we chose the name for our program, we wanted something that would adequately represent what we do and what we want our program to be for the haumana. Here at Ka Pouhana, we strive to be a beacon of connections for all students and our community. We desire to kōkua local keiki, uplift their gifts, so they prosper and thrive in whatever direction they choose to go in the future. Reference: Pūkui, Mary Kawena. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings. Honolulu (Hawaiʻi), HI: Bishop Museum Press, 1983.

Since Fall 2022, 10 faculty mentors and peer mentors have provided foundational support to up to 50 first-year students from Hawaiʻi island during their first 2 years at UH Hilo. It is a cohort model where our community of students and faculty strive to strengthen a sense of belonging and wellbeing, nurture leadership development, and service to the community. Collectively, Ka Pouhana will help students balance academics, hone their leadership skills, uplift their gifts, and explore their passions. The program is designed to complement the other mentoring and student support programs available at UH Hilo, and all of our mentees are encouraged to participate in these programs.

Ka Pouhana In the News

Ka Pouhana Events

Meet Our Faculty and Peer Mentors

The green kalo represents the importance of mentorship in Ka Pouhana. The leaves, or lau represent the faculty members who lead their community, guide the first-year student mentees, and represent UH Hilo as an educational institution. The student mentors represent the stems or Hā of the kalo as they are the connections between student mentees and faculty mentors through weekly check-ins, career development workshops, academic help, and social events to build community. Most importantly, the oha or root represents our first-year students who took on the opportunity to join Ka Pouhana. They are the oha of the kalo because with nourishment and communication with the environment as well as the lau and hā, the oha will grow to be resilient, strong, and capable of achieving major goals for the community.

For the Ka Pouhana Mentorship Program to be successful every year, we need the most engaged faculty members, and UH Hilo students who are looking to lead and share their experience with first-year students. Stipends available for faculty and student mentors.

Peer Mentors

Student Resource Hub

Students studying on campus

Our student mentors have compiled a list of student resources in academics, student organizations, career development, mental health wellbeing, and more at UH Hilo.

Faculty Mentoring Resources

Our faculty mentors have compiled a list of faculty resources from UH Hilo and other universities to help our faculty members with experiential learning projects, community collaboration opportunities, and more.

Ka Pouhana staff listening to presentations

Prospective Students

Are you a high school student on Hawaiʻi Island ready to apply to different universities? Visit the UH Hilo admissions page below and learn more about the various scholarships, academic majors, and opportunities for students who choose to attend UH Hilo.