Ka ipu kukui translates to “crucible of light:” the light that shines in each and every one of us who is willing to make a difference in our environment, in our community and in our lives.
That’s exactly what Island Sotheby’s International Realty agent Shaun Pederson R(S), a Lahainaluna High School alumni, has focused on for the last year - making a positive difference for Maui County’s future. Last summer, the Island Sotheby's International Realty agent was selected as part of the Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows Class of 2019, a year-long leadership development program run by the nonprofit aimed at identifying and nurturing young leaders in Maui County. A story in the Maui News recently highlighted his fellowship.
The Ka Ipu Kukui board of directors selects the group of fellows each year through a competitive process. Founded more than a decade ago by Decisions Maui and Maui Economic Development Board’s Focus Maui Nui, Ka Ipu Kukui seeks to develop leaders and foster civic engagement to better Maui County’s future, according to the nonprofit.
“I am a seeker of knowledge and that’s exactly what this program offers,” Pederson told the Maui News. “It connects us with the right people to be able to make a difference in Maui Nui.”
The program educates fellows on a range of both short- and long-term issue challenges for Maui, Lana’i and Moloka’i — ranging from access to healthcare to aging infrastructure to land-use planning. Each month, fellows delve into these topics through learning opportunities called “halawai.” For example, Pederson and other fellows in his class nurtured native plants on Kaho’olawe, removed invasive species in the West Maui Mountains and met with state legislators.
“The places we have gone, the people we have met ... the experiences so far have all been priceless,” Pederson told the Maui News.
So far, the Ka Ipu Kukui program has fostered 141 fellows, who flock to the educational program from a broad range of industries and experiences. Pederson told the Maui News that the experience has made him into a more civically-engaged member of Maui’s community.
“This program has motivated me to want to get on to a board or committee that will have a direct impact on Maui Nui,” he said. “Through this program, I have become aware of many of these boards and committees, along with community service projects that I never knew existed.”