MANA — Manu Kai, one of the servicing contractors at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, recently contributed nearly $7,000 to Kauai’s community during a day of deliveries that included stops at five schools with Alakaina Foundation grants, and a meeting with the Kauai Independent Food Bank at PMRF.
“Alakaina in Hawaiian means ‘leadership,’” said Phil Kahue, the Alakaina Foundation executive director. “Our mission at the Alakaina Foundation is to build and promote leadership and education initiatives for ‘na pua o Hawaii,’ or the youth of Hawaii. Our goal is to develop a new generation of leaders, especially among those who live in rural areas, and have the aptitude, attitude and vision to lead our communities and our nation in the future.”
The contingent of Alakaina Foundation awarded $1,000 grants to Kapaa, Kauai and Waimea high schools, as well as Eleele Elementary School and St. Theresa School, in support of each school’s STEM project.
Anne Kane, principal of Kauai High, said the award is a welcome addition to the school’s efforts at creating a “technology center” which would centralize the Red Raiders’ Science Technology Engineering and Math programs.
One of the buildings on the Kauai campus is currently being renovated and worked to develop a facility which would include a computer center with the inclusion of a workshop and classroom space for the school’s robotics program. The electronics center is scheduled to be dedicated before the school year ends.
Some of the Alakaina Foundation programs include innovative educational projects such as the Digital Bus that blend science, technology and environmental stewardship, teacher enrichment initiatives, scholarships and internships.
Manu Kai employees, many of whom serve on the Alakaina Foundation committee, wrapped up the day of giving with a presentation of food and $1,900 to the Kauai Independent Food Bank.
“One of Manu Kai’s annual traditions is sponsoring a KIFB food drive during our end-of-the-year employee appreciation gathering,” said Ross West, the Manu Kai program manager. “This year was Manu Kai’s eighth ‘Sharing the Aloha Spirit’ with the Kauai Independent Food Bank. We started this program in 2008 and will continue with the efforts in years to come.”
Kelvin Moniz, the KIFB executive director, welcomed the contribution, noting that the funds will remain on the Westside, helping fuel the backpack program which was started this year at Kekaha Elementary School.
“We had little knowledge of how bad this program is needed until a teacher approached us about having a backpack program start at Kekaha School,” Moniz said. “We needed to find a source of funding to get this program going, but started the program because there were all these keiki who needed help. This Manu Kai gift helps us keep the program going. Kekaha School is the third school, the other two being the charter schools, who help with keeping the Westside keiki from going hungry.”
West said the “Sharing the Aloha Spirit” award represents the combined contributions of the Manu Kai employees.
“When we give together, we achieve better results,” West said. “The Manu Kai Ohana knows that in order for the island of Kauai to thrive, all kamaaina must thrive. When someone supports the KIFB, they help local families that have the knowledge and the desire to improve their lives. The Manu Kai ‘Sharing the Aloha Spirit’ support that — we desire to create stronger families, communities, and strive to enrich our island to be a better place for all of us.”