About Us

Our Vision

A generation of Youth empowered to thrive from their Spirit, with a close connection to Nature creating happy, sustainable lives.

Our Mission

To create and live a model of Sustainable Community rooted in Spirit and to grow our Sustainability School base here on Maui, Hawaii, that showcases the importance of educating and empowering children and youth within these 8 key areas:

  • Agriculture & Environment
  • Community Living
  • Spirituality
  • Arts & Culture
  • Economics & Entrepreneurship
  • Health & Wellness
  • Personal Development
  • Life Skills

The Heart of Our Work

We believe Sustainability starts with the Spirit…Honoring the A’ina, the land and Mother Earth, Living in Community, Team Building, Youth Empowerment, and Healthy Self-care and Care for each other. Through training and example, we support the student’s personal path of talent, passion and creativity by supporting a strong Spirit and building practical skills for thriving in community.

Why Our Program Works

When people know their gifts, passions and talents and how to share them they feel great about themselves…personally empowered and inspired. An environment of support frees our youth to study and make new habits that cultivate good work ethics and good health. Learning about marketing themselves opens possibilities and opportunities for financial stability. The ongoing support of our extended community offers them continued moral and informational support, and a network for employment, housing and financial management, giving them things they need to thrive.

Our comprehensive learning program, based on a foundational connection to Nature, Spirit and the energies of all life around us, seeds the healing understanding that we are all inter-connected and are never alone. We rely on the indigenous practices that see the needs of one as the concern of all, honor and respect our differences, and hear and heed the voice of Nature…

Many communities around the world still uphold these truths and practices. The Hawaiian Spirit of Aloha is a beautiful example, and my Latin roots in Mexico and Peru are another. Their example inspires us to come back to harmony with Nature and each other in community…where reaching out is in the asking, where compassion, wisdom and kindness can be expected…and communication, accountability and forgiveness are the tools of creative resolution.

Sylvia Cenzano, Founder

Partners and Educators

We are honored and blessed to work with a brilliant staff of experienced, caring professionals, each a leader and innovator in their field. Their devotion to the vision of sustainable community and enthusiasm for our amazing human potential is inspiring!

Get Involved

Everyone has so much to offer! We need the skills and materials that you have to support us in building out our vision in addition to the funds needed.

Sylvia Cenzano
Founder, Business and Finance Educator, Youth Empowerment

As Director of Mālamalama Farm and Center and Kolealea Agricultural Center, Sylvia brings a diverse background of leadership in corporate finance, community resourcing, personnel and project management as well as skill in spiritual counseling and a passion for creating and facilitating an intentional community setting. With a Peruvian Indigenous background, close ties with Hawaiian, Hopi and Navajo cultures and a deep connection with Nature, this passionate and innovative spirit heads up this 9 ½ acre project with a decades-long vision, work and practice of building community and creating sustainable living programs.

She is known as a pioneer in sustainability…which includes the land and environment, local food sourcing, wellness lifestyle, expanded life skills, and community building with a strong spiritual and heart-connected rooting. An organic vegetable and fruit tree grower for 38 years, Sylvia is committed to educating students in shifting to sustainable native food sources, with a strong Spirit at the foundation, offering practice in living harmoniously in community and a hands-on education right on the land in Hawaii, a source of strong spiritual connection and inspiration.

Sylvia’s calling to share her gifts expresses in her work with children and youth and her passion to help them to develop their own gifts. She encourages them to see and understand that their energy has an effect and supports them in learning to focus their energy in a way that is positive, healing and magical. Her passion for the arts, especially music and dance, including native music, enhances her loving and deeply insightful work with the children and youth and all the members of the intentional community. The cultivation of happiness and peace as practical life skills, now supported by current science, is an integral part of conscious community building and the foundation of a strong Spirit.

Sylvia’s dedication to youth, indigenous culture and the environment led her to create sub-organizations of Mālamalama shown at www.ChildrenHealingtheEarth.org, www.SustainableChangeNow.org, www.RootMovement.org, and www.ThePowerOf4444.org. An accredited affiliation and membership with the Pacifica Indigenous Grandmothers, Council of Maui, and Grandfathers Council provides ongoing support rooted in elder wisdom.

Sylvia continues to collaborate with amazing educators and facilitators in her community, supporting the growth and progress of those who come to learn and practice sustainability and community building. Her understanding and experience is that systems in society change for the better through the effort of individuals empowered at their personal foundation working in unity, and those who live and learn with Sylvia are passionately prepared to be an integral part of creating that change for the better.

Lucienne deNaie
Environmental Engineer

Lucienne deNaie is a community activist with an unmatched record of service and environmental advocacy working with big issues of water management and land use and more. She has been working for the community and the environment since high school, when she convinced school administrators to allow students to create a senior garden where there was once only concrete, then led the building and planting effort. Lucienne de Naie, who calls herself a ‘practical visionary’, has amassed a list of honors and accomplishments far too extensive to detail here. Highlights include being chosen for a citizens advisory committee updating the County General Plan, official recognition by the governor for her years of stewardship of public lands, and her selection to work on the Hawaiian Tourism Authority’s Strategic plan. She is also the author of a well- regarded 200-page report on Maui’s water sources, is a founding member of Maui Cultural Lands, Inc., a non-profit land trust currently restoring acres of cultural sites in Honokowai Valley and of the Maui Coastal Land Trust. Her integral involvement with Sierra Club has supported environmental public education and proven its effectiveness.

Lei’ohu Ryder
Community Support, Kuma Aloha

Lei‘ohu Ryder is a Hawaiian spiritual leader, visionary, singer/songwriter, healer, and educator. As Kumu Aloha (emissary of Aloha) she advocates for the indigenous soul in all people. Her love and knowledge of Hawai‘i helps people connect with their selves, with Spirit, and the essence of Aloha.

Lei’ohu offers her gifts on Maui, in Hawai’i and throughout the world, through blessings, music, public speaking, intensives, counseling/mediation, healing work, ceremonies and services…all with Aloha.

Her talents and knowledge are honored and loved in our community and the world. Lei’ohu has received the Gandhi-King Peace Hero Award, the Peace Educator Award from the United Nations, the Woman of Honor award from Women’s History Month, the Educator Award from the Peace Corps, and the Malama Ka’Aina Award from the Sierra Club. She has shared her gifts all around the world throughout Asia Pacific, Middle East, Europe and North America.


Lei’ohu’s support and encouragement has been one of the most grounding and empowering influences throughout our years of development. And we are blessed and honored to have her support and consult on matters that ensure honoring of Hawaiian traditions and Hawaiian Spirit with the youth we serve. 

Francesca Hunter
Board Member, Certified Life Transformation Coach, Organizational Consultant

As a Certified Universal/Spiritual Life Coach, instructor and seasoned entrepreneur, Francesca brings techniques in the development of purposeful life skills utilizing creative strategies. She inspires our participants towards identifying personal values and optimizing balance while maximizing their potential outcome in the group experience. Her contribution supports a cohesive community living platform with a focus on nurturing collaboration as well as identifying areas for our greatest impact around mission relevant programs and solutions. Francesca brings love and a strong dedication to transformation into all that she does.

Aram Armstrong
Systems Thinker, Design Educator, Creative Facilitator

Aram is a systems thinker, design educator, and creative facilitator. He holds a Master’s degree in Interaction Design from the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Italy, and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Interactive Media from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Generative Ventures is his platform for sharing his design practice, teaching creative arts, sharing systems thinking, and supporting resilient communities.

He has been an embedded strategist and design sprint facilitator at Starbucks working between the digital marketing team, the UX design and iOS mobile app development teams with their human-centered design team. He was a core member of Fung Academy leading knowledge sharing, innovation and experimentation initiatives within the Fung Group’s leadership development programs as a designer, innovation coach, and workshop facilitator.

He spent 7 years at IDEO as an Interaction Designer doing design and research for new products, services and experiences for a wide range of organizations including American telecoms, Chinese manufacturers, and both the US and Singaporean governments. He has worked and taught internationally with students and clients from across South America, Asia, Europe, the US and Australia gaining fluency in drivers of change and culture.

Outside of the studio he achieved his light green cord in capoeira angola, he was attuned to reiki level 3, and he completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training at in Ecuador.

Aram now brings all of his talent and extensive experience to help ensure Malamalama’s growth, and in helping to guide our youth into a future with possibilities grounded in the skills and tools that can bring longevity to their choices of income streams. He helps them turn ideas and wishes into marketable realities.

Maydeen ‘Iao
Community Elder, Advocate, Kumu Aloha

Maydeen ‘Iao is, as is her partner, Lei’ohu Ryder, Kumu Aloha (emissary of Aloha) and advocates for the indigenous soul in all people. Her love and knowledge of Hawai‘i helps others connect with their selves, with Spirit, and the essence of Aloha.

Maydeen has often expressed and focused her Aloha through beautiful Hula dance, including for events where her instrumental and singing musical gifts are also expressed.

Maydeen has a gift of pure joy and authentic expression of this amazing energy that can only continue to serve to help shift humanity…and the spirit within. Teaming up with Lei’ohu Ryder produces a powerhouse of energy, wherever they choose to focus or send it, that is Love…Aloha in Action.

Mālamalama is graced with Maydeen’s support of our work, and greatly honored.

Peta Lynne
Board Member, Spiritual Elder, Grant Writer, Business Owner

Peta graduated from the University of Oregon in 1974 majoring in psychology and art history and went on to graduate school in Psych/Counseling at the University of California. As a grant writer and a board member living at Mālamalama, she is dedicated to supporting and participating in the sustainable community-building that helps young people, mothers and children create a healthy, productive lifestyle. She has experienced an “inner voice” since childhood that led her to work in channeling spiritual guidance for 45 years, sharing wisdom counseling with people of all ages and walks of life. During the 70’s she was a part of the “Back to the Land” movement and built a 36 foot geodesic dome in Eastern Washington on a beautiful 20 acre piece of land overlooking the Kettle and Columbia Rivers joining point. Helping to start organic bakeries, Dharma Crumbs, North Country Co-op and the Northwest Barter Fair, she has been involved in sustainable community as an entrepreneur all of her adult life. The mother of seven, she home-schooled her children as well as creating two “Alternative Schools” one in Eastern Washington and one in Eugene. She is also an author with two books on Amazon, The Miracle of Gratitude and A Summons to Courage.

Jennifer Bonadio
Board Member, Yoga Teacher, Trainer and Mentor

Jennifer shares her many decades of experience, research and training in Body/Mind practices and Health Education and skillfully teaches foundational sustainable self-care and personal growth tools that support a healthy, creative engagement in community life. Yoga and Meditation support and empower the students and members of the community to learn to focus their energy in a way that enhances every part of their lives. Her experience in the Healing Arts and Wisdom Traditions assist students in building their capacity for mind/body connection and the expression of a balanced, heart-centered life that contributes to a thriving community and a positive future.

Joshua Seymour
Graduate, Entrepreneur, Online Community Admin

In January of 2014, Josh became a student of Mālamalama as well as an active supporter of our mission and vision. Since graduating from the Mālamalama program, Josh has been dedicated to his family as a husband and father while living sometimes on the island of Maui and sometimes in Mexico. Josh is involved with administering the forthcoming online community of Mālamalama Farm and Center.

Bill Greenleaf
Board Member, Community Development, Youth Empowerment
Prior President and Treasurer of the Hawaii Farmers Union United, Haleakala Chapter, and organic farm owner, Bill found his love for farming when he moved to Maui in 2000. As a beloved elder in the Maui community, he brings his heart-centered wisdom to all he does. “It turns out that consciousness directed from heartfelt feelings can move mountains…for our purposes, it can also build great gardens”. Bill’s training helps youth experience learning outside of language as they learn to grow food as well learn a general focus and spirit-approach to apply to their lives’ goal onward. His first love was golf, which he began at 18 months of age and after college became a PGA Master Professional. Golf is his bridge to early childhood learning, which is predominantly right brain.
Robin S. Knox
Board Member, Water Scientist

Robin is an eco-pioneering scientist with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Environmental Health with 30 years experience in environmental protection. Her knowledge of the biogeochemical cycles of the earth helps others to see that the same practices that build living soils and grow healthy plants also keep sediment and nutrients on the land and out of the water and air, where these materials would pollute and cause imbalances in the natural systems. She teaches how protecting soil quality and preventing erosion benefit the land and the farmer and prevent the degradation of waters, as well as wastewater treatment, and irrigation, toilet flushing etc, and how to get energy from wastewater.

Lehua Simon
Grant Writer, Multimedia Designer, Steward Coordinator
Lehua is a multiracial descendent of the indigenous people of Hawaii.  She was born and raised in Hawaii, grew up in Upcountry Maui, and attended Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus. She has a MFA in Media Design and has been writing (awarded) grant proposals for non-profit organizations and social artistry initiatives since 2010.  In 2016, Lehua conceived of a multimedia project called Mālamalama Maui and coordinated the project with other creative women entrepreneurs from 2017 to 2018 in an effort to enlighten the agricultural future of her homeland after the cessation of sugar farming in the central valley of Maui. In 2020, she met Sylvia and participated in educational work days at Mālamalama Farm & Center with her family.  In 2021, Lehua joined the team of stewards gathering to restore the farm and now supports this team with communications, systems design and fundraising.
Brigitte Brand
Community Wellness

Brigitte lives by a code of Nature whereby the Earth is tended to in respectful and honoring ways. She single-handedly manages her 22 beehives and the honey produced. She has lived her life as a practitioner of holistic approaches to health, education, and community living. She understands the power of the mind and the individual’s intention and sheer will to affect change, and her approach and interaction with people empowers and inspires. Brigitte is a single mother of young twin girls, actively involved in their introduction to the world in a setting of natural beauty. She grows much of their own food right there on their home property. Her passion for Nature and good food has brought her to be an accomplished beekeeper in addition to a skilled farmer and food preserver.

Gerry Ross
Board Member, Farm Development

A partner in Kupa’a Farms, he grows vegetables, tropical fruits and award winning coffee on 14 acres in Lower Kula, Maui. He is a consultant on organic agriculture and compost, and holds on-site classes for the University of Hawaii. He understands that soil is the heart of any agricultural operation, and has a determination to amend and enrich it to keep the soil alive and healthy. For more than 20 years Gerry Ross worked as a Canadian geologist, then about ten years ago, he changed careers and “reformatted” himself as a Maui farmer. His farming principles are “rock solid” and sustainable.

Robin Burditt
Board Member, Community Engineer

Robin has over 20 years of experience working for Fortune 500 companies, applying her gift of elegant design and organization to professional and personal settings. Robin has the ability to streamline processes and systems within busy and fast-paced corporations, and to then integrate those systems with those of sister-companies. She supports management that is highly efficient, with cross-training and cooperative team building. She created our website as an instrument of information with a streamlined flow, ease of access and beauty. She is part of the team here that creates business documents and marketing material. As well, Robin is a single mother with a 19-year-old son. Having recently completed extensive research on resources for challenged minds and the mental healthcare system in the U.S., she has identified a system that could serve to streamline this part of our society, as well has found a working model. Robin has chosen to work with smaller companies working towards a greater good, where her energy is best put to serving and supporting our communities.

Ryan Marek
Board Member, Graduate, Business Owner, Youth Empowerment

As a graduate of Mālamalama, Ryan is a member of our extraordinary network of talented people that are dedicated to cultivating and sharing vital knowledge on how we can live harmoniously with our environment individually and collectively. Being a part of Mālamalama for the past 7 years has sparked his dedication to a life-long journey of cultivating and sharing the practices of sustainability. He has a gift for sharing his passion with youth, empowering and supporting them with his enthusiasm and Heart.

Samantha Lomeli
Business Technology

Samantha has an impressive array of skills and experience in business operations including team communication, project management, program development, operational flow, graphics work, marketing, and grant writing. She is an asset to both this organization and to our students with her capacity to share her skills in practical ways, including creating professional resumes. With two college degrees, a brilliant mind and lots of energy, Samantha is a fine candidate for highest level administration of any company or organization. A mother of 5 young children, her organizational skills are critical! She is quite versed in the important role her small community village plays in the nurturing of her family. She is an exemplary team player whether with her family or at business. Other details of her accomplishments and abilities: Create and edit marketing content, develop and implement forms/records to document project activities, develop and facilitate volunteer solicitation programs, develop, plan, and implement marketing strategies, oversee development of web design, distribution materials, and production and distribution of all publications, coordinate event initiatives from securing a venue to leveraging social media and email campaigns, build funding relationships, complete grant writing and proposals.

Forrest Taylor
Graduate, Business Owner

As a past resident and student of Mālamalama programs, Forrest’s passion for sustainability includes a focus on keeping our local economy strong and advocating the circulation of dollars within the local community so that the community has a continuous and healthy flow of financial support. Forrest advocates diverting money away from companies and organizations that support non-organic or GMO food. Forrest is the owner of a local business on Maui that provides sound systems for vehicles within our community. A conscientious entrepreneur, he lives from the heart with high integrity, and loves his work. Forrest has been a speaker on one of our youth films shown on the Children Healing the Earth Facebook page.

Mary Jane Bennett
Women’s Wellness

Mary Jane has been a Doula, an educator of childbirth, and a lactation consultant on Maui for many years. Her mission is to provide a kind- hearted offering of continuous compassionate support, encouragement, education, comfort, guidance, and peace of mind from conception to postpartum and throughout the parenting journey through her business, Beautifully Informed Beginnings. She facilitates the transition of many women into motherhood and family life. This level of support is vital within our communities where women have the greater portion of the responsibility of birthing, raising and supporting their children. Mary Jane is La Leche League International Accredited Leader, and a trained and accredited Early Childhood Educator.

Patricia Plazola
Board Member, Veteran, Women’s Empowerment

Patricia is military Veteran, a single mother of two children and a member of our Board of Directors. As a woman, mother, and veteran she has an acute understanding of the challenges of obtaining and creating the resources for a healthy and sustainable life. The challenges are many for an unsupported mother and the process of integrating back into civilian life is often times very difficult for a veteran, and she has much experience and knowledge in creating support systems for women, children, and youth. Both her study of PTS (Post Traumatic Stress) and her gift for phenomenal insight inform the tremendous guidance and wisdom she offers. She supports the ultimate vision and goals of individuals while addressing the self that is yet to feel empowered, advocating the development of practices that facilitate healing and stress recovery. Her vision is full empowerment of the individual in a community setting that supports self-sustainability and stability.

Kathy McDuff
Spiritual Elder

Kathy McDuff is a Lightworker on Maui whose goal is helping all beings to raise their consciousness to the highest level possible. Her perspective to sustainable living comes from a spiritual point of view, and her knowing that as we evolve into the new age that is upon us, we must make a number of changes in order to stay aligned with our dear Mother Earth. We must return to an alignment with nature, which includes living sustainably and acknowledging that Mother Earth is the source of life, nourishment and learning and provides everything we need to live well. Every human being is responsible for respecting and living in harmony with Mother Earth. Kathy’s experience includes Native American shamanic teachings and Universal One truth, and she would like to offer an opportunity for anyone interested to find the truth within that will lead the way to a return to nature where they can find inspiration, guidance and healing for their own sustainable living.

Larkin Chollar
Art Education, Business Owner

Larkin’s artistic talent as a sculptor, jeweler and painter has supported him and his family for many decades as Chollar Art Works. Over the last thirty years he worked on many large and small projects and his work has been commissioned, purchased and supported by highly respected art appraisers and gallery owners. He worked on the eagle for the National Monument to the United States Constitution and has worked with the best stained-glass studios on the West Coast, and has done many commissioned portrait bronzes of celebrities. He loves and appreciates Maui as an international center of art and beauty. He and his wife, Peta, live here at Mālamalama and daily support and contribute to the dynamic and thriving sustainability of the land as elders and fine examples of lives dedicated to creating a beautiful life of community sharing.

Bill Perkins
Farm and Center Maintenance

As Land Manager at Kolealea Agricultural Center, he works directly with the students and the flow of tasks to illustrate the sustainable approach on this land. Considered “un-farmable” by many, the challenges on this terrain are similar to many other islands’ properties, and the most fulfilling endeavor is to show how food can still be grown. He has a great expertise in maintaining nurseries and he takes pride in the developing of young fruit and bamboo orchards and in the ‘outdoor classroom’ of energetic fun learning.

Melody Kellar
Homeschool Advocate

Melody is an advocate of alternative learning with years of research as a caring mother and community member and has an understanding of how the use of hands-on project-based schooling serves to inspire a great love for learning through the openness that creativity and adventure provide. She is the mother of a home-schooled child where these applied approaches are proving successful with her child’s educational and emotional growth. As an advocate of sustainable agriculture and local business practices, she takes a lead role providing informative reports to many people and articles of innovative ideas and practices that provide stability to the individual and to the community as a whole. As a dental assistant and practitioner of touch therapy she uses her empathic gift to recognize and reduce stress and anxiety in children and youth. As a supporter Melody enhances our foundation of support for the women, children and youth that attend our training courses.

Art Cover
Sustainability Expert

A free-lance naturalist, ecologist, economic botanist, land-use management specialist and homestead landscaper, Art has an enduring love for nature that has matured over seventy-five years of grass-roots living. He calls his work – his experience, impressions, speculations and conclusions – Adaptive Ecology. He believes that sustainable and harmonious coexistence with nature is a necessary and possible instinctive need in all animals and is the special aptitude, talent and personal ecological responsibility of Homo sapiens. In Adaptive Ecology his focus is sharing with people the deep truths of nature that we need to know to save the planet and the species from destruction.

Melinda Jara
Technical Research

Melinda’s expertise in research supports us in finding applicable grants in the areas of our work that include land, maintenance of buildings, and training courses, specifically focused on grants for construction phases of the overall vision for this Center, for invasive species removal from the jungle part of the land as well the entire property, for farming and farm equipment, materials and supplies for the training courses, materials associated with the training center overall, and on-going maintenance. She identified the Atherton Family Grant foundation as a hopeful source for construction grant funds to move us forward towards completion of the buildings, bringing them all into compliance with county building codes. Melinda has a gift for graphics as well, specifically in creating training documents with crisp clarity and fine detail.

Greg Gardner
Economic Social Historian, Sustainability Practices

He holds a B.A. in Psychology and Biology from Kansas State Teachers College and wrote and directed the “Solar Energy Education Project” for President Carter’s administration, which earned him a scholarship with Buckminster Fuller. As a direct student of several Native American cultures, he has a keen understanding of Native Sustainability and Strategies. He has traveled extensively and is passionate about the history of economics and how it applies in current corporate form, and the non- renewable use of energy and its effect on the economy.

Rich Lucas
Community Law

Rich Lucas is studied and experienced in many fields and is a sustainability teacher, non-profit planning director; organic farmer; retired attorney; starseed healer, but one of his central passions is sustainable living and food security. He believes that Maui should be the global model for alternative energy and sustainable living. He has a deep understanding of the systemic crisis that has led to an escalating crisis of volatile food prices and food insecurity, and the need for more localized, smaller scale and sustainable agriculture. His goal is to set up food sharing communities around the island where food can be grown in ideal conditions and no one will go hungry. A well-loved elder in the community, he is happy to share his knowledge and philosophy in supporting a more informed and sustainable community.

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