Community Building from a FABulous Perspective

12196092_890754674346916_2102420565938278495_nBy Sharayne Tuala

Two weeks ago I attended the first Faith Advisory Board (FAB) session. I had no idea or expectations for this first session. All I knew was that I was attending this session to show support to my family. I’ve been exposed to the kind of planning Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) does, so when I looked at the agenda I knew I was in for a really empowering experience. Every activity was thought out really well and was very informing. Throughout the session, the facilitators expressed the importance of creating community and relationships. I found my reason for being there.
In our area, the tension between the Samoan and Tongan community have grown. My friend, Justin, was the one who was interested in building the bridge between our communities whereas I was more concerned for my Samoan community. That night I was able to learn so much about the history, culture, and language of Tonga that I was totally bought into the program. I am now more interested in learning about the Tongan community so that I can find ways to support them. I’ve grown to love and appreciate this beautiful culture. I’ve haven’t been this excited about learning since my participation in EPIC’s leadership program called Pacific Islander Leaders Of Tomorrow (PILOT). The mana (power) in the room was so overwhelming and awesome I could not stop smiling. I have full faith in this program. I know that this program will work and I just love it! Big ups to the steering committee for doing an awesome job! Malie Tonga!

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