More than $34,500 in grants were awarded to 16 organizations Monday afternoon through the county’s anti-drug office.
“The fight against drugs takes the community coming together to offer opportunities for choices,” said Kaua‘i Mayor Bryan Baptiste at the gathering in the courtyard of the Mo‘ikeha Building in Lihu‘e.
“If there are more choices available to our young people, there are better chances one of those choices becomes a positive one,” Baptiste said.
Working through Theresa Koki, the director for the county’s anti-drug office, Baptiste said the purpose of the “Healing Our Island” grants is to provide seed money to various groups that offer choices for Kaua‘i’s young people.
“This was Theresa’s first opportunity to review the applications, and she took the job seriously,” Baptiste said. “I wish we had enough money to be able to fund everyone’s requests, but that is not the case. This is just a small part of a year-round effort to help our youth make the right choices.”
Koki said funds for the program were secured through the efforts of Kaua‘i’s state legislative team and Gov. Linda Lingle.
One of the groups receiving funds from the ceremony, the “Spirit of the Westside Wind,” opened the program with a performance that resonated through the hallways and offices of the Mo‘ikeha Building.
Representatives said the group was born using borrowed equipment because they have none.
“Our drums are all termite-eaten, and the funds will be used to acquire new equipment and bachi for our students,” the leader said.
Similar stories were echoed as each of the groups stepped up to receive its award handed out by Baptiste and Koki.
The group that included Roland Sagum, also were treated to a demonstration by Kaua‘i Martial Arts: Wing Chun Kung Fu, another of the award recipients.
Mark Marshall, one of that group’s leaders, said the adults serve on a voluntary basis.
Organizations that were awarded grants include the Kaua‘i Martial Arts: Wing Chun Kung Fu, Hale ‘Opio, Kaua‘i Special Olympics, Circles of Light, “Spirit of the Westside Wind” taiko group, Love the Journey, Ka ‘Ohana Punana Leo O Kaua‘i, Kaua‘i Team Challenge, Waimea High School PCNC, Wilcox Elementary School, Kilauea Elementary School, Kapa‘a Elementary School, Waimea Canyon School-E Ola Pono (Live the proper way), Malie Foundation, Ka Ala Hoku Community Integration, U turn for Christ Kaua‘i, Imi Ola and Kanu I Ka Pono.