Pacific Business News Women Who Mean Business

Under Dawn Dunbar’s leadership, After-School All-Stars Hawaii provides a positive force in the lives of at-risk youth in their middle school years, offering after-school programs designed to nurture the community’s investment in its children and their future.

Dunbar’s work in Hawaii is frequently used by the After-School All-Stars national headquarters to pilot new projects. When new chapters are launched in other cities, they are often modeled after the success of After-School All-Stars Hawaii.

Since its inception in 2009, the program has grown from three to eight sites, expanding its reach from 250 to nearly 1,500 students. It plans to expand to the Neighbor Islands, beginning with three schools on the Big Island this fall.

Dunbar’s networking and collaboration with other organizations, businesses and agencies has generated the needed revenue to allow for the organization’s rapid growth.

Participants in After-School All-Stars Hawaii are given the opportunity to be role models for their peers through student-led and student-driven service learning or community projects. They gain confidence by applying their new skills to service projects that will improve their communities, such as performing ukulele at the Shriner’s Hospital and cooking meals for the homeless.

The biggest challenge facing my organization and how I’m addressing it:As a new organization to Hawaii, we continue to explore creative and innovative ways to raise funds and seek win-win partnerships. We are also looking at potential legislation that will help fund nonprofits like After-School All-Stars, which serve a targeted audience with a much-needed program that provides tremendous benefits not only for our students, but their families, schools and communities as a whole.

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