Jon Brito (right) visiting the White House.

The White House honored Hawai’i native and UH Maui College student Jon Brito, 24, as one of two national conservation role models. Brito, who served as an AmeriCorps member with the Hawai’i Youth Conservation Corps, or Kupu, was honored as one of the country’s “next generation of conservation leaders.” Kupu is one of 100+ corps across the country, connected through The Corps Network, geared to get young people involved in the environment and conservation.

The UHMC Engineering Technology student grew up in the town of Kualapu’u. After graduating from Molokai High School in 2008, Jon immersed himself in the world of environmental conservation as an AmeriCorps member with KUPU’s Hawai’i Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC).

“UHMC provided me the opportunity and privilege of furthering my education,” said Brito. “The college has provided hands-on and meaningful lessons/classes that have honed my skill base for my area of study. If UHMC was not here or was not what it is today, I do not know how I would be able to continue my education and career goals. I’m very thankful for everything UHMC has provided and look forward to all the wonderful things that will happen on this campus in the future.”

According to an AmeriCorps press release:

In addition to his school responsibilities, Jon serves as an energy efficiency and agriculture intern with KUPU’s vocational training program, RISE. In this position, Jon works with Maui’s business and agriculture sectors to improve the sustainability of their operations.

As his supervisors say, “Jon has a heart of gold and is a truly selfless person with all the right intentions.” As the only KUPU Corpsmember to have served in the RISE program as well as three HYCC programs, it goes without saying that Jon is dedicated to Corps and environmental sustainability.

Ultimately, Brito hopes to help Hawai’i reach energy independence.

Read the full article on the AmeriCorps website.