Summer Enrichment Program draws dozens of applications

LIHU‘E — “When I got here this morning, the parking lot was filled,” said Melanie Okamoto, with the county Community Assistance, Recreation Agency. “The parking lot (fronting the Pi‘ikoi Building) started filling up from 5:30 on this morning.”

Some of the parents waited under the eaves of the county building in a line that encircled it, as people waited for the offices to begin taking applications for the 2006 Summer Enrichment Program.

Applications Saturday were taken on a first come, first served basis.

“If one of the locations is filled, we put them on a wait list,” Okamoto said. “We try to take care of as many of the children as we can.”

“There’s no summer school this year,” said parent Erika Sakamoto, who was able to enroll her son at the Wilcox School site.

“The only other option is the creative arts program at Island School.”

The 2006 Summer Enrichment program will be shortened by one week this year, said Cindy Duterte, the county’s executive on recreation.

“This is because of the switch to the new school-year calendar.”

“Last year, we negotiated with Wilcox School to open a new site,” Duterte said. “This increased our count to an additional 60 students.”

As the seemingly unending line pressed the issue, the Wilcox School site count edged upwards toward 90 students.

Within 30 minutes of opening, the signups at the Wilcox School site numbered 82, while over at the King Kaumuali‘i School site, signups tapered off at the two dozen mark.

At the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School site, registration numbers hovered at 40.

“We are real fortunate to partner with the Department of Education,” Duterte said. “Otherwise, we would not have enough facilities.”

Less than 30 minutes after applications started being processed, Okamoto announced that Kalaheo was already filled to capacity, according to a phone call from that site’s representative.

Duterte said this year’s program will run from June 13 to July 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. The only exception will be on the Fourth of July when no programs are scheduled due to the holiday.

Lunch will be provided at all 10 program sites, four days a week.

On Wednesdays, children must bring their own lunches. Lunches are being sponsored by the county of Kaua‘i and the USDA Food Service.

This year’s summer enrichment sites include Kilauea Neighborhood Center, Lihu‘e Neighborhood Center, Kalaheo Neighborhood Center, Hanapepe Neighborhood Center, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, Kapa‘a Neighborhood Center, Koloa Neighborhood Center, Kekaha Neighborhood Center, Wilcox Elementary School and King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) and dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.

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