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Kaua‘i United Way walkers strong in community

KUKUI GROVE — If anything shows the energy of today’s youth, the annual Kaua‘i United Way Walk has to be near the top of the list.

About 600 walkers, the majority of whom were youth representing the agencies serviced by the Kaua‘i United Way, raised about $33,000 in the annual event yesterday, said Loretta Geis of the Kaua‘i United Way.

“We had one of our biggest showings this year,” said Dr. Gregg Naganuma of the Boy Scouts of America, Aloha Council. “We put in a lot of walkers for today’s event.”

Volunteers flowed into the central staging area from the public high schools, including a large showing from the Interact Club of Kapa‘a High School.

The Interact Club operates under the supervision of Joan Kealalio, longtime supporter of the Kaua‘i United Way Walk.

“She was here with the Boy Scouts, and now she’s taking care of the Interact Club,” Geis said.

Groups participating in the event help the Kaua‘i United Way, but also help themselves raise funds because half of the monies raised benefit their organizations.

“This is gratifying to see,” said Scott Giarman, director of the Kaua‘i United Way. “In these uncertain economic times, more and more of these United Way agencies will be called upon to help people, and it’s gratifying to see how generous our community is.”

Giarman said the Kaua‘i United Way’s current campaign of $610,000 is actually ahead of last year, but with more uncertainty coming with each day, he also shares the concerns mirrored in the community.

Kaua‘i County Councilman Tim Bynum, a leader with the Friends of Kamalani, was one of the walkers, sharing the microphone with emcee Calvin Paleka in thanking the people for showing up and supporting the event.

In reminding the walkers of the ongoing National Make A Difference Day program at Lydgate Park, Bynum said what the walkers are doing make a big difference for the people being helped by the United Way agencies.

Mayoral candidate Bernard Carvalho was also on hand, walking to show his support before attending the Macy’s 150th anniversary celebration.

For more information, call 245-2043, or visit the Kaua‘i United Way Web site at www.kauaiunitedway.org

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