ABLE's Discovering Amerika Samoa 2023 closes after 4 weeks
While many children use the break to relax and unwind after a long year of school, 70 children ages 7-14 spent the last four weeks in ABLE's Discovering Amerika Samoa (DAS) Program.
This program, which began on June 19th, focused on teaching our children all about American Samoa in a holistic way.
The program covered a lot of ground - in the four weeks, the participants learned all about our territory's geography, government, culture, history, etc., through hands-on projects, guest lectures from experts and leaders from all over our island, extensive field trips and tours around the island, demonstrations of arts, dancing and culture, and so much more.
This program was made possible through the sponsorship and full support of the American Samoa Government Department of Education and ABLE's community partners, including the Feleti Barstow Public Library.
Additionally, the community has been so gracious with their time and experience - such as the guest lecturers, field trip hosts, tour guides, local government and village leaders, etc.
A key ingredient to the success of the DAS program is attributed to the incredible staff of program leads and junior leads that accompanied the participants every day and led them in activities and discussions.
ABLE President Elinor Lutu-McMoore remarked, “This program has been an enriching experience for us all. Our founder, HC Afoa Lutu, believed in the importance of educating our children and the importance of understanding one's identity - E taua lou faasinomaga.
We set out to empower these children by instilling in them knowledge about where they are from and hopefully giving them a stronger sense of identity as a result. In the process, our team also learned and grew with them.
Experiencing everything this program provided with our youth has not only been fun, fulfilling and informative but also deeply necessary.
By teaching them facts and traditional practices like what the sua means, who our island neighbors are, and how to elei a tapa design, we're not only trying to provide them with fun activities - but activities deeply relevant to them and that they're lacking during the school year.
We hope that as a result of this program, our participants carry this message forward - that everything about our Amerika Samoa including our history, culture, arts, traditions, language and government are important things to know, learn and experience.
We are grateful for all the support by the sponsors and partners as well as the trust by the parents and families.”
While the last time this program was held was in 2012, the Agency for Better Living Endeavors (ABLE) team aims to have this Discovering Amerika Samoa program be annual from now on.
“You can really feel how proud they've become”, continues Lutu-McMoore, “Now no matter how far they go, they'll always have this knowledge and this experience with them.”