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Kaua‘i Pride scholarships: Students on the Garden Isle have until April 30 to apply

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A float in the 2022 Kaua‘i Pride Parade. Photo Courtesy: Liz Belfor

The Kaua‘i Pride Parade and Festival is awarding three $1,500 scholarships this year, but the clock is ticking: Applicants have only until the end of April to apply.

Kaua‘i Pride has offered annual scholarships since 2022. The awards are divided into three categories – Art, STEM/Vocational/Technical and Activism/Advocacy – in 2024.

“Because the Kaua‘i Pride Parade and Festival promotes and celebrates peace, acceptance and unity for everyone on our island regardless of sexual orientation, gender, identity, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation or background, we wanted to be able to give back to the community in a way that can support the upward mobility of those marginalized communities that I just mentioned,” said Abigail Naaykens, a volunteer member of the Kaua‘i Pride Committee and director of crisis services at YWCA of Kaua‘i, which serves as the fiduciary sponsor of the event.

“To support their growth, we wanted to have a scholarship that is dedicated to our mission … that can support people of all ages that identify or ally with the LGBTQIA2S+ community,” Naaykens said.

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The scholarships are to be used by individuals furthering their education through university, college, technical/vocational/trade school or other various post-secondary programs. Applicants may be of any age but must reside on Kaua‘i to be considered eligible.

In addition to answering short-answer questions on their application forms, scholarship applicants have the opportunity to provide Kaua‘i Pride with supplementary material as well.

“If they’re submitting an application for the arts scholarship, then maybe they want to submit some original music that they’ve written, or maybe they want to do some photography or something,” Naaykens explained. “Whereas for the activism and advocacy one, maybe they want to submit supplementary material that shows the service that they have provided to the LGBTQIA2S+ community through a slideshow or something like that.

“The idea is that different people learn in different ways and the diversity among all of us is what we really value within Kaua‘i Pride,” she continued.

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Anaina Hou Community Park – an event venue in Kilauea on the North Shore of the Garden Isle – is an annual Kaua‘i Pride scholarship sponsor. This year, Anaina Hou is funding the art scholarship.

“Especially now, as basic inalienable rights are reversed or removed entirely in courts of law without thought or respect to those affected, it is paramount to encourage our young people to be themselves, as defined by themselves, to follow their dreams and passions,” said Jill Lowry, CEO of Anaina Hou Community Park and the Kaua‘i Resilience Center. “People should not be afraid to live in their own skin, and if our small scholarship helps to build confidence, further a path or open a door to becoming an artist, a doctor, counselor, first responder, a senator and so on, then we are happy to help.

“YWCA is an important local partner in providing safety and guidance to victims of domestic violence, and to advocate for equal rights and access for all,” Lowry continued. “Please join Anaina Hou Community Park in supporting one or more of their programs.”

Scholarship winners who consent will be announced publicly during a celebration at the Kaua‘i Pride Parade and Festival scheduled for June 1.

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For more information about the Kaua‘i Pride Parade visit the event’s Facebook page. You can also follow the parade on Instagram.

Visit kauaiprideparade.com for complete 2024 scholarship details and rules. Those interested in volunteering at this year’s event can fill out an interest form here.

Kaua‘i artists have until March 31 to enter this year’s Kaua‘i Pride T-Shirt Design Contest. The winner of the competition will have their artwork featured on T-shirts sold during the June 1 event.

Scott Yunker
Scott Yunker is a journalist living on Kauaʻi. His work for community newspapers has earned him awards and inclusion in the 2020 anthology "Corona City: Voices from an Epicenter."
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