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Getting kids ready to learn

LIHUE — James Li wants to give Kauai’s students a fresh start at a new school year.

He believes the Ready 2 Learn program offers just that opportunity.

“We’re hoping to make an impact,” said the Helping Hands Hawaii program manager.

Beginning June 15, HHH will hold its annual, statewide Ready 2 Learn program on Kauai, which will provide low-income and homeless students with school supplies.

“We want to make sure that everything generated on Kauai, it in turn gets distributed to Kauai to benefit the population locally,” he said.

On Kauai, the program is accepting both monetary donations and school supplies, including crayons, scissors, rulers, glue, pencils and pens, erasers, calculators and backpacks, which will be used to create educational kits for students in kindergarten until 12 grade.

In 2014, R2L supplied kits to 4,516 students during the back-to-school period and 3,000 more during the school year, according to a press release.

“I think it’s important because those are the things that we sort of side line,” Li said. “Our hope is that we are also sensitive to situations like this and we recognize that a child’s education is really important.”

Kauai’s R2L branch will be partnering with American Savings Bank which will have collection points for the donations until July 15. HHH is also working with Child and Family Services who will distribute the school supplies to the students.

“Ready 2 Learn contributes to the continuum of educational support for this at-risk population,” said HHH president and CEO Jan M. Harada in the press release.

People can also donate through mail and through the HHH website.

Ready 2 Learn was founded in 1999 in partnership with Sen. Daniel Inouye and his wife, Maggie Inouye. In 2005, HHH assumed statewide administration of the initiative in order to continue Inouye’s vision. HHH currently helps more than 8,000 students each year.

“It’s a great resource, it’s something very basic and simple that often gets left at a lower priority,” Harada said. “We hope to continue to be a resource to low income and homeless children in this area of school supplies.”

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