After school and ‘awesome’

KILAUEA — As Talan Miranza walked to Kilauea School’s basketball courts, the middle schooler looked forward to practicing with friends. 

“I wanted to get active,” said Miranza, who joined the basketball club for the first time. “I’ve heard a lot of good things (about the club).” 

On Monday, students participated in four free after school clubs at Kilauea School through the “Adopt a Club” Program created by the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay.

The Rotary Club established the program at the request of school Principal Sherry Gonsalves, an advocate for after-school clubs that provide students with adult mentors. 

“The clubs also offer a sense of belonging, alternatives to less-desired activities, and enrichment in areas for which there is no time during school hours,” Gonsalves said.

Rotarian Ric Cox said,  who spoke with parents and teachers about the program and recruited volunteers, said Adopt a Club is modeled after the Rotary Club’s “Adopt a Classroom” program, which raised $348,000 for schools in two years, 

Hanalei Rotarians raised $33,000 in seven months for Adopt a Club. 

After the pilot program was launched in August, the number of after-school clubs at Kilauea went from two the previous year to 24. For effective mentoring, most clubs are limited to 12 members. Of the school’s 300 students, 70 percent have participated in at least one club during the first three quarters.

“The goal is to enhance the lives of our keiki by working with individual donors, community organizations, philanthropists and foundations to fund Adopt a Classroom, Adopt an After-School Club, Adopt a 3D Printer and Adopt a Junior Achievement Class at every public school on Kauai,” Cox said.

Most clubs are run by teachers paid through donations and are coordinated by the Parent Teacher Association. The Rotary Club assigned different clubs to different days of the week, with 200 students on board. 

Monday’s clubs included basketball, hula, tennis and the iPals4iPads, which helped students learn to use the device through their teacher Amy Bachmann. Other clubs include painting with watercolors, cub scouts, book club and soccer.

“Oh, I love it; they’re awesome,” Bachmann said. “It’s fun to see them figure out new things that they didn’t know how to use.”

Second-grade teacher Michelle Gibson and hula teacher Naomi Yokotake look forward to mentoring students.

“I get to work with the young kids as well as the old kids and it’s just getting to know more of the kids on campus,” Gibson said. “Hopefully, we can get more of the kids out here and more involved with actually being out and playing instead of just sitting down and doing nothing.” 

For Yokotake, working with the students has been a joy.

“When they asked me to do the club I thought, ‘This will be a great opportunity to introduce some of the students to hula,’” said Yokotake, who has her own halau and teaches hula throughout the week. 

Student Alyssa Lyons liked the iPals4iPads Club “because we can learn new things on the iPads we didn’t know before.”

Rain Hannsz of the tennis club said she likes “hitting the ball and catching it.” 

As a result of Rotary’s efforts, this quarter Koloa PTA is launching and funding five clubs for 132 students. Hanalei PTSA is launching one club in addition to the two it had already funded. 

Kanuikapono in Anahola will add one club next quarter.

Cox said contributions are needed to fund clubs in the fourth quarter, to increase the clubs at participating schools — where applications far exceed openings — and to expand Adopt a Club to other schools.

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