Hawaiian immersion daycare center to open

A gated playground area was constructed for the new daycare center on the first floor of Hale ‘Akoakoa –EZZIO LAVARELLO

The hopes of WCC students with young children may soon be a reality. The campus is about to open its first daycare center. Named Hanai a Ulu, which means to feed, grow, and nurture in Hawaiian, it will be a Hawaiian language immersion daycare for children ages 0 to 2.

Daycare can be a major obstacle for college students who are parents of young children. According to PATCH, Hawai‘i’s statewide childcare resource and referral agency, the average cost of childcare in the state is $640 per month and most times is the second largest expense in a budget after living expenses.

Having to earn an income to take care of daily necessities, bills and childcare, all while going to school, can seem impossible. However, even those students who manage to do all of it can suffer from extreme levels of stress that potentially affect their school life negatively.

“This daycare center is such an awesome opportunity for other moms like me who struggle to meet the financial requirements of public daycare,” said WCC student and single mother Mikayla Porter.

Ikaika Veres-Young, who has been attending WCC for a little over a year now and is the father of a 2-year-old, said, “It’s been tough trying to balance my school work and my job while caring for my main priority, my daughter.”

He said that once Hanai a Ulu is available, he can spend more time studying and less time working. This may seem like a small adjustment to his daily life, but it can make a big impact on his education, which will overall benefit his daughter.

For more information on admissions and eligibility requirements, contact the center director Puanani Kama at puananir@hawaii.edu.


by Antonia Gary, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter