Preschool keiki go hopping for Muscular Dystrophy Association

Little Andrew King was the hopping king, hopping 900 times without stopping, during the Island School pre-kindergarten class Muscular Dystrophy Association fund-raising Hop-A-Thon.

The 13, 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds, of the group Na Pua Keiki, raised $1,226 after being inspired to help by watching a video produced by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Island School officials said in a press release.

“We’re helping people who can’t hop,” explained David Remes, 4.

“We participated Montessori- style, without competition,” explained Na Pua Keiki teacher Noreen Dougherty.

Island School’s pre-kindergarten program follows the Montessori curriculum, which is non-competitive.

Prizes were offered for the hoppers, but Na Pua Keiki students opted out of this part of the event.

“The parents agreed that they wanted the kids to focus on the giving part of this event, rather than on what kinds of prizes they could win,” explained Dougherty.

The Hop-A-Thon is an event sponsored by the MDA. Jennifer Li, health care services coordinator of MDA, helped coordinate the event from O‘ahu.

Hopping up and down isn’t an unusual activity for young children, but hopping to bring hope to people affected by neuromuscular diseases is a special story, MDA officials said in a press release.

During the Hop-A-Thon events, they raise funds, and also learn about important disabilities issues.

In addition to Island School, the following also either have scheduled or held their Hop-A-Thon events:

• Aloha School Early Learning Center of Hanalei, $335.99;

• Kapaa Missionary Church Preschool;

• Lihue Hongwanji Preschool, several hundred dollars;

• Malia’s Keiki Hale Inc., Lihu‘e, May 1;

• Natural Bridges School, Kilauea;

• St. Catherine School, Kapa‘a, $1,516.80.

Donations help send children and adults with neuromuscular diseases to an annual summer camp, assist with buying and repairing wheelchairs and leg braces, fund family- support groups and clinic visits at hospitals on O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and the Big Island.

MDA provides educational supplies free of charge, including coloring books for the students, and lesson plans for the teachers.

MDA is a voluntary health agency working to defeat neuromuscular diseases through programs of research, services, and public-health education.

MDA’s programs are funded almost entirely by individual private contributors.

For more information about Hop-A-Thon, call 1-808-593-4454.

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