Participant Spotlight: ‘Ohana Gabaylo

The journey of higher education has its share of challenges. One of the biggest challenges for many families is the financial burden that comes along with going to college. For David and Ruth Gabaylo that financial burden is tripled as Ruth, a mother of three, is pursuing her own college degree simultaneously with their two daughters, Cinnamon and Cayenne. As a mother on a journey to higher education, Ruth has been able to continue to study alongside her children and has even had fun carpooling to college classes with her daughter.

The oldest of the Gabaylo keiki, Cinnamon is currently pursuing a degree in dental hygiene from Leeward Community College. This past Spring ’22, Cayenne, the middle keiki of ‘Ohana Gabaylo graduated from Chaminade University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology.  The youngest keiki, David Jr. graduated from Nānākuli High School and will be entering bootcamp this summer as an E2 Private First-Class recruit to pursue his dreams of serving and protecting our country in the U.S. Marines.

Ruth’s journey with INPEACE started as a mother bringing her daughter Cinnamon to Keiki Steps in the year 2000.  In 2003, she joined the INPEACE staff as a member of the Keiki Steps team and continues to teach in the Keiki Steps classroom today. All three of the Gabaylo keiki attended Keiki Steps for preschool. Ruth expressed,

“From what I learned as a parent from attending the Keiki Steps program to what I know now as a staff member and teacher with INPEACE has been a tremendous wealth of knowledge that helped me understand my children and their developmental growth.”

Ruth is also a participant of INPEACE’s Ka Lama Education Academy program that provides support to individuals in pursuit of a degree in the field of education. With the support provided by INPEACE, Ruth achieved her Child Development Associate (CDA) credentials and an Associates of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. This past December ’22, Ruth graduated with a Bachelor’s in Social Sciences in Early Childhood Education from University of Hawaii at West O’ahu. Cayenne is also enrolled in Ka Lama Education Academy and receiving support to earn a master’s degree in teaching.

Ruth has led by example throughout her children’s educational journey.  From building their educational foundation through preschool as a parent in Keiki Steps, to encouraging and supporting all her keiki in their education, she has demonstrated the importance of setting goals, working toward them, and accomplishing them one step at a time.

“It is an honor for me as a mother at my age to graduate alongside my children because it solidifies the importance of education, alongside the importance of Ohana.”

Ruth Gabaylo