Sariling Gawa Youth Council, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that fosters cultural awareness, nurtures ethnic pride, and empowers youth to develop leadership skill. Our major activity is the annual leadership conference which brings together high school delegates and youth leaders statewide, from six major islands. This conference is usually held at Mokuleia (north shore of O’ahu).
Sariling Gawa started as a grassroots community effort in 1980, commemorating the 75th anniversary of Filipinos in Hawai`i. The stimulus to create this project originated with Filipinos concerned with the overall well-being of the Filipino community here in Hawaii. Contrary to popular perceptions, social service, education, and public health professionals did not create the organization, rather it was a group of college students who reflected, analyzed, and acted on their experiences of being young, immigrant and local-born Filipinos in Hawaii.
Sariling Gawa has developed activities involving organizing and implementation of an annual leadership conference as well as participating in community and cultural events. These core activities require that the volunteers continually recruit new leaders, network with Filipino youth and other community-based organizations throughout Hawai’i, and participate in Filipino social and cultural events. For over 20 years, thousands of young Filipinos and community members have experienced hands on training and skills building, allowing young people to be empowered as leaders, mentors, organizers, administrators, and role-models. Sariling Gawa’s strength lies within the passion of its members to perpetuate core values for the next generation and every single one thereafter. Its mission may be summarized by the following statements:
- Provide leadership training, educational and career training and development opportunities.
- Provide a forum for youth and young adults to voice community concerns and problems, as well as formulate ideas for solutions to these issues.
- Participate in community affairs; to teach and share the Filipino history and cultural heritage.
- Instill ethnic pride and identity; to instill positive self-concept and family-concept; to increase awareness of laws and the process of government that affect youth and families.
- Develop and maintain an effective collaborations and social networks among youth, families, and communities in Hawaii.