LIHU‘E — The STEPS Parent & Child Fair held Saturday at Kukui Grove Center Stage, drew hundreds of talented youth with entertainment and activities for families and young children.
The Sequenced Transition to Education in the Public Schools (STEPS) event was a one-stop event for parents to learn about programs and organizations designed to support children and families. More than a dozen organizations sponsored display booths, and the Kaua‘i Police Department and its Youth Explorers program were present to make Keiki IDs for kids.
Ron Morin, general manager of Senter Petroleum, which transports Chevron products around Kaua‘i, said Chevron instituted the program statewide in cooperation with island police departments.
They provide the special Polaroid camera, finger print machine and laminator to make a photo ID of kids from infancy until they have a driver’s license or some other official identification.
“It is an ID for parents to carry and to give to police if their kids go missing,” Morin said.
KPD Community Outreach Officer Sergeant Roderick Green said the Keiki ID is essentially the only official identification for most youth. By updating the ID photograph and fingerprints every six months to a year, along with contact information, the identification card is a valuable tool to aid in an investigation.
KPD Youth Explorer Sgt. Shelby Tangalin said she and the dozen other Explorer members take part in Keiki ID events throughout the year. The group averages up to 200 IDs per event, and there are now more people who are updating the ID cards than those needing originals.
Fran Becker, executive director of Naleiwili Ahee, attended the event with Waimea High School juniors Denise Albite and Kristi Kobashikawa. The teens are members of the Health Occupation for Teens Club and work with Becker on the “One Strong Ohana — Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect” program of the Hawai‘i Children’s Trust Fund.
The three helped talked to families about how to identify abuse and about the resources available for prevention and intervention. The Parent Line resource number is (800) 816-1222, and information also can be obtained online at www.theparentline.org.
The event emcee was Arnold Meister, who introduced several children’s performance groups from around the island. Karen Dickinson sang the national anthem.
Approximately 12 members of the 5-year-old Tsunami Taiko group from Waimea High School performed six songs. The older students teach the younger students in the continually evolving Taiko group, and they enjoyed the chance to play together at a youth-themed event.
“This is a good event with all the kids together,” said group member Sean Dela Cruz, a freshman at Waimea High School.
The Kapa‘a Middle School Choir and Ukulele Band performed about 30 minutes of music. Led by music instructor Mary Lardizabal, the songs included heritage music with Hawaiian songs, songs from their recent music festival performance, and concluded with a rendition of “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”
• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or tlaventure@ thegardenisland.com.