Kukui Grove first Friday celebrates Back to School

LIHUE — David Bown of Strategies for Life could not believe Art Umezu digs into his own pocket to keep the Jam Room jamming.

During the First Friday event, Bown dropped in with a $500 check he presented to Jonell Kaohelaulii, Kukui Grove Center marketing director, Umezu and Daphne Sanchez, hostess of the youth center open 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays at the Kukui Grove Center.

“He’s been doing this every Friday night for the past four years,” Bown said. “He has been working with kids and created ‘The Jam Room’ four years ago, funding this himself and coaching and helping kids with their performances, and life.”

Bown said Strategies for Life is to help people reach their potential in life, and similar to Umezu, hopes to mentor people of all ages to face their fears, find purpose and find their dreams.

He operates a Junior Dragster at the Garden Island Racing Association’s Mana Raceway, where young people can get hands-on in the Boar Killa.

Kaohelaulii said this was the last First Friday of the summer, celebrating Back to School with merchant specials. Activity wrapped up Sunday, the day before students returned to the classrooms Monday.

The Game Kids, with Ron Wiley of the KQNG Radio Group emceeing, offered up a Facial Fashion Parade.

“The next First Friday will be school-themed,” said Kaohelaulii.

The next First Friday is scheduled Sept. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Kukui Grove Center.

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