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Hawaii Leaders Core to host Alaka‘i Youth Leadership Academy

By Staff | Feb 22, 2018

WEST MAUI – For the past five years, the Ignite A Life (IAI) nonprofit dba Hawaii Leaders Core (HLC) has been opening doors for the youth of our island community, sponsoring attendance at various renowned youth leadership summits across the globe, including San Diego, United Kingdom and Australia

Their success rate with the students of the HLC has been stellar, so practiced, that the beneficial organization is hosting the first-ever Alaka’i Youth Leadership Academy (AYLA) this summer on June 18-24 at the Maui Beach Hotel.

Co-founders of IAI are the mother-son team of Robin and Alex Muto, respectively. Robin is a Launiupoko resident, the CEO of the 501(c)(3) and wife of island Cardiologist James Muto, MD.

Alex is now a 20-year-old student at Santa Barbara City College studying communications. He graduated from Maui Preparatory Academy in 2015. When he attended his first Global Youth Leadership Summit in San Diego at 16 in July 2013, he returned a different person, empowered, on a mission, founding the Hawaii Leaders Core (HLC) just one month later.

“I wanted to share and bring these skills back to the youth here, to Hawaii, to the people I feel are like my brothers and sisters,” Alex told the Lahaina News.

The mission, Robin added, “is to increase the quality of life for Hawaii’s youth, regardless of their financial status. We believe that teaching the youth how to break through limiting beliefs, set goals inline with their passions, communicate effectively and influence others for the better will create a strong generation of leaders.”

Alex walks the talk: “We take local kids in the community and send them to the different leadership summits. We have sent 188 so far,” Alex observed, from across Maui County, including Lanai and Molokai.

The cost, on the average, is about $2,500 per trip/per student. “Everything is paid for,” he added.

“That was step one; step two is hosting our own event,” Alex announced. “We’re entering into the international community now,” with a six-day residential immersion program.

AYLA is open to 250 youth, with the majority from Maui – anywhere from 150 to 170 – and the remainder from international countries,” Alex anticipated.

There are two tracks: High school and Grad. The younger track is designed for youth entering high school or in ninth through 12 grades. The Grad track is open to graduated youth, ages 18-21.

The curriculum is similar to other summits held across the world; it focuses on the five fundamentals for leadership: character development, communication in relationships and leadership roles, setting and achieving goals, contribution (selflessly giving) and financial independence.

IAI has assembled a force of qualified presenters for the summer academy, including coaches, motivational speakers and experienced trainers like Marlon Smith, Kathy Buckley, Felix Lin, Heather Miller, Carolyn Sampson and Margaret “Chili” Irving.

Local favorites will also be on stage.

Alex has attended a large number of similar seminars and is now a sought-after motivational speaker.

“I give a talk about How to find your Why, so you can overcome any How,” the young leader added.

West Siders Chantal Charbonnier and Daniel Ornelas will share their successes as well.

Since 2014, Charbonnier has participated in over half-a-dozen summits and is an exemplary role model. She graduated from Maui Preparatory Academy in 2016. With a full-ride scholarship, the 19-year-old is now attending Hawaii Pacific University on Oahu, studying business management and administration.

She is an accomplished speaker. “I delivered a TEDx Youth Talk up at Seabury Hall in 2015, and I spoke on not playing the victim role in life, advocating for taking advantage of opportunities.”

Ornelas is another local TEDx speaker sharing his message at AYLA.

Ornelas is the Lahaina owner of Devictimized LLC. His topic is “Overcoming Being a Victim.”

Robin is pleased with the lineup: “Our team is excited about impacting the lives or the youth of Hawaii and facilitating their journeys into becoming leaders in their communities and globally.”

At $2,600, the price to attend is high; but scholarships are offered.

Robin explained, “They can pay all at once or in five installments for the next five months. If they are experiencing an absolute financial hardship, we are requesting a $300 commitment, so we can see that the kid really wants to be a part of it. We hope that they can afford the $300, and then we will give them the scholarship for the rest of it. If they can’t even afford the $300 and if they still want to come, we’re still going to get them a scholarship.”

Alex is open: “We always want to give equal opportunities to everybody.”

Generous donors in the community continue to support the Ignite a Life opportunity. Benefactors include Maui Cardiology, Maui Hotel and Lodging Association Annual Visitor Charity Walk, Benevity Community Impact Fund, Herb King, Zachary & Carmelina Maragoudakis, Ali Laputka Legacy, Dolores Kirby, Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, Dr. Bob Gwynn, Chopra Center for Wellbeing Dr. Gary Woodworth, Jonathan Allen, Lynch ‘Ohana, Pitzer Built Construction, Peter Appel, Dr. Richard Terry, Forber ‘Ohana, Frank ‘Ohana, Island Paperie, Kenda Kapaku, Mary Jo Lobianco, Michelle Liberati, Miso Phat, Network for Good and Van Boxel ‘Ohana.

“We are very grateful for everyone who supports us at Ignite a Life and our vision…,” Robin said.

To learn more or to enroll, visit hawaiileaderscorecom, ignitealife.org or call (808) 250-2550.