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Getting quicker is free for Kaua’i keiki

LIHU’E — Youngsters 7 and up will have the benefit of University of Hawai’i athletes and coaches this week.

Roy Nishida of the county’s anti-drug office announced the clinics for volley-ball and soccer will take place starting Wednesday.

Nishida was at the speed and quickness clinic that took place at Waimea High School on Saturday, and at Kaua’i and Kapa’a high schools Sunday.

These well-attended events featured University of Hawai’i personnel including Rich Miano, Mel DeLaura of the speed and quickness program, and athletes Kenny Patton, Grace Mullins, Leonard Peters, Krisha Kai, Ryan Grice Mullin and Chad Owens.

Miano and DeLaura are no strangers to Kaua’i because they try to visit the island at least once a month to check on the speed and quickness afterschool Program, said Keali’i Aguiar, the Kaua’i afterschool coordinator.

Aguiar was along with Nishida during this weekend’s clinics, helping the UH staff as well as monitoring the youngsters who turned out at the three sites.

“The afterschool program is divided into districts,” Aguiar said. “There is the Westside, which meets at the Waimea High School cafeteria; the central, which meets at the Kaua’i High School cafeteria; and the Eastside, which is handled by Kapa’a High School Athletic Director Greg Gonsalves and meets at the Kapa’a High School gym.”

Aguiar said the free program for Kaua’i keiki meets twice weekly at each site and is often treated by visits from Miano and DeLaura, who make it a point to bring along a UH athlete or two.

These programs have proven to be successful for the island, Aguiar said. He estimates that about 70 to 75 students turn out at each site.

The Kaua’i programs are free to the youngsters while a similar program on O’ahu costs $10 per youngster due to the high demand the program commands.

The central program runs on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Kaua’i High School from 2:15 to 4:15 p.m. The Waimea High School program runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:45 to 4 p.m., and the Kapa’a program meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Youngsters interested in getting into the program just need to show up and introduce themselves to any of the adults at the meeting sites, Aguiar said.

Nishida said this week’s clinics for volleyball and soccer are only the first-phase offerings. He said there are plans to offer additional specialized clinics for baseball and basketball.

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