We Are Leeward O‘ahu: The Island’s Newest Place to Live, Work and Play

(Sponsored) About 30 miles from Honolulu, the West Side is a vibrant, fast-growing community. From locally owned restaurants to a 200,000-square-foot community center, Leeward O‘ahu offers everything you need.

University of Hawai‘i—West O‘ahu

University of Hawaii West Oahu
Photo: Courtesy of University of Hawai‘i—West O‘ahu


On a gleaming campus in Kapolei, the University of Hawai‘i—West O‘ahu is booming along with the communities that surround it. For the second straight year, UH West O‘ahu outpaced every other U.S. public four-year university in enrollment growth between 2006 and 2016, rising from 866 to 2,939 students (The Chronicle’s Almanac of Higher Education, 2018-19). UH West O‘ahu opened a new Administration and Health Science building in December 2018, and broke ground on a Creative Media building, with an anticipated opening date in 2020.


The growth reflects UH West O‘ahu’s commitment to preparing its students for the opportunities and challenges of today’s world. Noted programs include creative media, sustainable community food systems, cyber security, health sciences, hospitality and tourism and teacher preparation. In addition to in-person courses, UH West O‘ahu maximizes its distance learning program to serve a wide range of students.


The University of Hawai‘i’s newest four-year campus never loses sight of its place. Like the majority of its students, UH West O‘ahu is a Leeward O‘ahu denizen and proud to be the university of choice for 66 percent of high school graduates from the Leeward coast.


Kroc Center Hawai‘i

Kroc Center Hawaii
Photos: Courtesy of Kroc Center Hawai‘i


You’ve joined a gym or wellness center before, but you’ve never been a part of an ‘ohana quite like Kroc Center Hawai‘i. While you’ll find classes and workshops that will appeal to every member of the family—from infant swim play to advanced hula lessons—you’ll also find a welcoming, inclusive, supportive circle of neighbors who are dedicated to their West Side members’ social, educational and physical goals.



Your little one will get all the instruction he or she needs to be diving headfirst into the water in no time. There’s something for everyone here, and classes are specifically designed to fit the needs and skill levels of various keiki age groups. That includes everything from water play groups appropriate for 1-year-olds getting their first taste of swimming, to basic water skills classes for 3-to-6-year-olds (think blowing bubbles and floating), to advanced classes where children up to 12 can build upon the aquatics skills they already have.   



The Kroc Center Hawai‘i Judo Club is the perfect place for students to dive into this cultural practice. Here, art and discipline come together to help students master both the form of judo moves, as well as the root philosophies and practices that form the foundation. In addition, students are given the opportunity to excel beyond the realm of the classroom, with potential to compete on a local or even national level.



Get your kids into the game! The community of Kroc Center Hawai‘i Soccer is a robust and diverse one, with a range of training opportunities that can take starting soccer players all the way up to upper level youth players. Keiki will start with the most basic fundamentals of the game, mastering the key skills, strategies and elements required to become top-tier, competitive players in their age group.



Kroc Center Hawai‘i is here for your family, no matter how busy you get. The center’s preschool program gives West Side kids a safe and fun environment that will nurture their physical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual development. In addition, the WEE (Weekday Early Education) Learn Curriculum provides an educational environment that will encourage blossoming young minds with an emphasis on expanding and exploring skills in language and literacy, mathematical thinking, music and movement, visual arts, understanding the natural world, social and emotional skills, and fine and gross motor skills. But, don’t expect a one-size-fits-all approach to your child—Kroc Center teachers know that all students have different needs and strengths, and adjust their curriculum accordingly.



There’s a lot to be excited about with the Kroc Center Hawai‘i’s latest program offering: hula! Everyone is welcome at these all-inclusive classes, which have tiers both for students new to the dance, as well as seasoned practitioners looking to join a vibrant, West Side hula community. Kumu Hula Tammy Ipolani Silva leads kupukupu, laua‘e and makua classes, building on techniques for creating hand and feet motions, and then moving on to intermediate skills that master the integration of the two. At the end of weeks of hard work, you’ll be able to literally see the results: Each season culminates with a special performance.


Special rates for you!

Special membership rates for individuals, seniors and families are available, making it easier than ever to join the ‘ohana. And, psst: They have scholarships! Because Kroc Center Hawai‘i wants everyone to have a chance to be a part of the community, it offers opportunities for reduced-price memberships.


Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu at Ko Olina

Four Seasons Resort Oahu
Photos: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu at Ko Olina


Searching for your very own place of joy? Look no farther than Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu at Ko Olina. Just 35 minutes from downtown Honolulu on O‘ahu’s sunny west shore, this beachfront resort sits on the wild and rugged Leeward Coast, where vast ocean views, lively pools and pristine lagoons provide the setting for an unforgettable adventure.


This island oasis offers endless activities for every lifestyle: Take the family for a ride on an outrigger canoe, splash around in the turquoise waters of Ko Olina’s picture-perfect beaches, play a round of golf as you weave through waterfalls at the Ko Olina Golf Club or simply spend the day reconnecting with your inner self at Naupaka Spa & Wellness Centre.


Four Seasons Resort Oahu


O‘ahu’s western coastline is home to revered cultural storytellers, artisans, crafters and some of Hawai‘i’s most fascinating living legends. The resort’s ongoing weekly series, #FSWAYFINDERS, open to guests, is an exploration of tradition, culture and modern Hawai‘i through art, activities, and in-depth workshops.    


Whatever your perfect vacation looks like, you can find it here. Escape to the Leeward side and prepare for the ultimate experience in laid-back luxury, exceptional hospitality and superior taste.


Four Seasons Resort Oahu


Enter to Win

A romantic couples spa treatment from Naupaka Spa & Wellness Center.


Honolulu Federal Credit Union

When Honolulu Federal Credit Union was founded on Dec. 3, 1936, it was with one goal: To serve the U.S. federal employees in Honolulu as a not-for-profit financial cooperation both owned and run by its members.


More than 80 years later, it’s still going strong with that mission, and, now, it’s growing—right alongside your growing ‘ohana. From its small roots in the early 1900s, the credit union has swelled to include 15,000 members from federal jobs as well as a variety of local businesses, including Avis Budget Group, Costco Wholesale, Hawai‘i Tourism Japan and dozens more. It now boasts $240 million in assets and 40 employees at four Honolulu branches, and is constantly opening its doors to more members who are looking for a more empowered way
to bank.    


Photo: Courtesy of Honolulu Federal Credit Union


But the success story doesn’t end there. This year, Honolulu Federal Credit Union is moving west, where it will be perfectly poised to help the Leeward community’s young families make their financial dreams a reality. After all, 80 years later, Honolulu Federal Credit Union still has its members’ backs in a way other banks won’t. How? HOCU is fully owned by its members and run by unpaid volunteers that serve on the board of directors or committees. That means that any surplus funds go right back to benefit members. It means no stockholders calling the shots and demanding profit increases. And it means a democratic system: Every member has a vote, regardless of the amount of money in their accounts.


Sure, members can take out loans, make deposits and access all the financial resources they need to create the home, family life or career they’re looking for—just like at a bank. But, at Honolulu Federal Credit Union, they’re in control of their financial destiny, as well as their financial community’s future. Now that community includes the Leeward ‘ohana—and you.


Island Pacific Academy

Island Pacific Academy
Photos: Courtesy of Island Pacific Academy


Island Pacific Academy isn’t your typical school.


Sure, it has the top-tier statistics you’ve come to expect. The school’s graduates boast an eye-popping 100 percent college acceptance rate. Its students are participating in advanced college-preparatory programs that put them ahead of the game at a young age. The high school seniors’ SAT average is a wildly competitive 1282. Island Pacific Academy has this academics thing down pat.


Island Pacific Academy


But Island Pacific Academy is so much more—a school that focuses on building not just high test and achievement scores, but on shaping high-achieving community members for the future who are kind, thoughtful, empathetic and resilient. “We know that a purely schoolwork-based approach is not really educating the whole child,” says Upper School Principal Steven Caley. “So we also look really closely at how our kids are in regards to their kindness and generosity. It has to be more than strictly academics.”


That is why the Island Pacific Academy curriculum includes a focus on character and ethics that build upon a student’s social identity and their obligations as a human being. They learn tools that will help them be successful adults, including lessons on stress management, an emphasis on perseverance and, always, discussions about communication. It’s all about how the students can contribute to crafting a better future, a better world—and a better West Side.