Empowering Ohana


At one point, Carla Ring-West’s family grew to 17 people under one roof, with five biological children and nine foster children.  Starting with her oldest son (who is now 16 years old), every child that she and her husband raised attended Keiki Steps, INPEACE’s Family-Child Interactive Learning preschool. As a young mother, she knew that she wanted to be involved with her children’s learning. Through her participation and learning in Keiki Steps, and leveraging the knowledge she gained in teaching her own children, she blossomed into an educator and advocate for early childhood education.

Over the years, Carla and one Keiki Steps teacher had become so close that they considered eachother like family. When she was offered the opportunity to work side-by-side with that teacher, she jumped at the opportunity.

Carla also received assistance from INPEACE’s Ho‘ala program, which supported here in finding preschool for nine of her children so she could also work outside of the home and attend college courses. With multiple keiki applying for preschool the number of forms to complete and submit for preschool enrollment, tuition subsidies, as well as the foster care system’s procedures were daunting. Ho’ala supported her in navigating through those processes successfully. Her husband and mother contributed to her being able to work while raising the children, helping to drop off and pick up keiki from preschool, and her mom attending Keiki Steps with the younger children when Carla could not attend. Carla considers it a privilege to participate in Keiki Steps alongside her children and her mom, which she believes has directly contributed to her keiki’s successful transition to preschool and kindergarten.