My name is Kylee Hamamoto, I am a senior at Punahou School, but on top of that, I am a daughter, friend, activist, athlete, entrepreneur, and the proud founder and president of WeGo! I really appreciate you stopping by and checking out our story, mission, and projects!
If you have any questions or inquiries, don't hesitate to email me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org! I look forward to speaking with you!
The Full Story by Kylee Hamamoto
Everytime I needed an escape from reality or needed to get my mind off of something, my dad would take me cruising in our silver 4-runner. On these drives, there wouldn’t be much talking, but an awkward silence never enveloped the car. Rather, there was always a presence of a comfortable and warm silence accompanied by a cool, fresh breeze. Whether it was getting a bad score on a test, or a disgust from petty school drama, I knew these car rides were the prescription I needed to feel comforted and encouraged. But what was even more comforting were the succinct words that would make a tear a little more dry, a frustration a little more manageable, and a stress a little more unruffled.
These two words meant: “support,” “love,” and a simple, “everything is going to be alright.” From just these two words, I knew I had the strongest person on my side, my father. I knew I had his support, and that gave me all the confidence in the world that I needed.
My father, the founder of the Young Women’s Club at Princess Ruth Ke'elikolani Middle School (formerly known as Central Middle School) and a supporter of women's rights was a spearhead in my life for gender equity. For as long as I can recollect, he has molded me into an independent girl through showing me the true capability of women and the unnecessary need to fit into society-crafted categories. Always recording “Modern Wahine with Brooke Lee” on the DVR, texting me female empowerment YouTube videos and the inspirational quote of the day, he always sought opportunities for me to learn about women accomplishing world-changing goals and in hopes of fostering a daughter to go on to do just that.
I want girls everywhere to experience support and love from others as I have when I hear the words, “we go.”
I want girls to experience empowerment and gain the self-confidence every girl deserves.
I want girls to know their worth and to be their authentic selves.
I want girls to find comfort the way that I feel when I hear my father say, “we go.” I wanted to pay it forward.
In my eighth grade year, I started creating online meetings with women professionals to speak to a group of motivated students. I created a space where they could ask questions and receive advice, but I didn’t stop there. When I became a freshman, I created a club at Punahou to build a community of girls to empower and inspire one another. Through social media platforms, podcasts, written articles, YouTube videos, and more, I created opportunities for girls to find what they’re passionate about and how they can go forth and act upon that passion, just like my father creating opportunities for me. I created a safe and empowered space for girls to be unapologetically themselves and share with others what they love to do.
In my sophomore year, WeGo! became a certified non-profit, we expanded and created chapters in Japan in Tokyo and Osaka as well as creating both virtual and in-person opportunities for girls everywhere to connect and support each other.
However, I’m not stopping here. I want to give girls everywhere access to a space as innovative and supportive as the one I’ve created. I want to create a network of girls who can tell each other stories, empower one another, and work together. A space where our differences won't isolate us from one another, but rather, have a community with a common thread of being a woman and sharing common struggles that come with being one. Building each other up and breaking glass ceilings, together.
When starting my journey of creating my organization, the hardest part was coming up with a name that encapsulates everything I stand for, what I hope to achieve, and still incorporating a sense of home with it. I realized what better than naming it after a phrase that will always bring me comfort and remind me of home...