Kalihi Co-Working Space Caters To Teens
High school students now have a place to do homework off-campus, thanks to four young entrepreneurs. College student Liezl Agustin and high-schoolers Tiffany
Chang, Jessica Kim and Isabel Wong opened a co-working space, The Canvas, in Kalihi earlier this month.
The founders conceptualized the space — which is exclusively available to high school members — as a place that is conducive to studying, as well as extracurricular pursuits.
“High school students are at a critical point in their learning,” says Wong, a sophomore at Punahou School. “As courses become harder, the workload greater, and the pressure to get into college stronger, high school students need a supportive space to work.”
“The Canvas wants to serve that need, where students can be in a productive and stimulating place with other students,” adds Chang, a senior at Punahou.
While students often head to libraries, coffee shops or other hangouts to study once school finishes, The Canvas offers additional resources that wouldn’t be available at such locales. It is in the process of securing a group of tutors, and also will host speakers and instructors to lead workshops and discussions on a range of topics — possibilities for which include graphic design, politics, leadership and more.
“For high school students, (the discussions) can be the introduction to a field they decide to pursue in college and as a career,” Wong says.
The co-founders also are backed by a leadership team of about 20 students from various local high schools, who lead all aspects of The Canvas, from event planning to volunteer management.
The Canvas already is off to a strong start, with about 60 student members signed on.
The idea first sprouted when Agustin, Chang, Kim and Wong were grouped together on an assignment through leadership training program Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders, in which they had to address a problem in the community that they were passionate about.
“We observed that students were not necessarily in touch with what they were learning,” says Kim, a senior at Moanalua High School. “So we thought to ourselves: Why don’t we think bigger and create a space where students can grow, utilize resources, and be a part of an empowered community?”
The Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders is The Canvas’ fiscal sponsor (The Canvas also plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign early next month to secure additional funding), but the students are the ones who maintain day-to-day operations and overall planning.
The organizers want to ensure that when students come to The Canvas, they only have to worry about their studies — meaning that the space provides office supplies, a library, SAT and ACT prep materials, computers and WiFi.
Its co-founders hope that, at its core, The Canvas simply can serve as a place to support students’ futures — not only by helping them with homework, but by allowing them to explore a variety of ideas and interests.
“As an organization evoking creativity and critical thought, we want to see a generation of innovators and creatives helping to better our society,” Chang says.
The Canvas is located at 2200 Kamehameha Hwy., B-101. It’s open from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday–Friday. The Canvas is seeking adult supervisors, student and adult tutors or anyone who may like to lead a discussion. To volunteer or for more information, visit www.thecanvashi.org.