I attended a conference over the summer. I had the pleasure of listening to a lecture by Pelika Andrade, The Executive Director of the non-profit Nā Maka Onaona and an Extension Agent for the University of Hawaii’s Sea Grant Program. During her lecture she shared about “Kilo,” “the process of observation.”

I wanted to share with you some of my take away from that lecture that speaks volumes towards improving mental health and when you prepare to become a resource caregiver.

Pelika shared how our landscapes and surroundings are like libraries and we have to be present, pay attention and learn from them. As a resource caregiver we must be present and pay attention to each unique situation of the children that we care for. We observe with subtleness a sticker of inspiration in the lunch box, and post it on the homework wishing them good luck on that test. No expectation of response just letting them know you care.

But we also must be able to experience our own emotions and go through our phases. Just as the moon changes in its phases (Kaulana mahina), so do our emotions and our mental health.

“We are not meant to be happy all the time. We are meant to experience every emotion fully and deeply so we can grow … Sunshine all the time creates a desert.”

Author’s Biography

Leina’ala Kealoha was born and raised on Maui and is currently in her 3rd semester at the University of Hawai’i, Maui Campus pursuing a degree in Hawaiian Studies. Leina’ala brings with her 20 years of experience within the hospitality industry.

Leina’ala is part of the Mu’o a’e scholarship program at the University of Hawai’i and currently serving as an intern with Ho’oikaika Partnership. She hopes to learn more about each individual partner.

In her current role, she assists with administration tasks. community outreach events and writing blog posts from the perspective of a Resource Caregiver.