LIHUE — Shanelle Gararnia was nearly a half an hour early for work Wednesday.
“I walk every place,” Gararnia, doing work at the FM97 offices, said. “I usually catch The Kauai Bus at the Civic Center and ride to Kukui Grove. From there, I walk to the office. I usually walk all over.”
Gararnia, originally from Koloa, is entering her third phase of the Employment Services Program administered by the Easter Seals, Kauai under the direction of Anela Segreti.
“She’s doing really well,”said Janice Akiyama, the FM97 special events coordinator. “When she first started, she didn’t really care about anything. But as she progressed, coming in for work once a week, she started to change. She dresses better, has a good attitude, and is always on time.”
Akiyama said this is the first time FM97 is participating in the program after being approached by Ellen Ching, the Kauai director of Easter Seals.
“When Shanelle first started, she came in with Anela,” Akiyama said. “Now, she’s coming to work on her own, and doing a really good job. If she continues, we’ll see if we can get her on the payroll.”
The Employment Services Program is just one facet of the Easter Seals of Kauai which benefit from the golf tournament which unfolds Sunday morning with the sponsorship of Hawaiian Insurance and Guaranty which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
“The Easter Seals Hawaii is excited to host this golf tournament each year because it encourages people to take part in an enjoyable sport and raise funds for Kauai’s keiki, youth, and adults who benefit from our programs and services,” Ching said. “Easter Seals Hawaii, with three centers on Kauai, provides quality services to infants, children, youth and adults with special needs or disabilities. We pride ourselves on providing our participants the tools they need to reach their full potential and become independent members of the community. The first step starts with the basics of walking, talking, and other skills to find employment such as customer service skills, job training, and experience.”
Ching said registration for the golf tournament is still being accepted along with sponsorships, and donations for the golf balls which will be dropped ahead of the shotgun start at 8 a.m. at the Kauai Lagoons Golf Club.
Registration on Sunday starts at 6:30 a.m. with the golf ball drop provided by Jack Harter Helicopters marking the start for the two-person team, Best Ball with 80 percent handicap format.
Registration fee includes the green fees, cart, and the post-game luncheon which will be hosted by Jason Fujinaka at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.
Brad Nagano, the golf tournament chair, said Hawaiian Insurance and Guaranty, one of the oldest insurance companies in the state, is the event’s title sponsor, offering 10 $100 cash prizes, a Scotty Cameron putter, and other prizes.
“HIG is joined by a host of other community sponsors, including C&B Associates, Dupont Pioneer, Dr. Michael Oride, and Garden Isle Disposal,” Nagano said. “We are the originators of the golf ball drop where 2,000 golf balls are dropped on a specially-designed hole with the first, second, and third balls to drop into the hole, or closest to the hole, will earn prizes.”
The golf ball drop is designed for people who don’t golf, although golfers are encouraged to participate as well.
First prize in the golf ball drop is a Las Vegas trip for two, including hotel, air, and melas for five nights courtesy of Mokihana Travel in Lihue. A $500 shopping spree at the Kukui Grove Center is the second prize, and a $300 jewelry certificate from A&B Jewelry is the third prize.
Gina Akama at 482-3486, or firstname.lastname@example.org is a very important person as she takes the registrations for the golf tournament as well as sponsorships. She also is the person who collects the donations for the golf ball drop (winners need not be present to collect their prizes).
Ching said all funds raised through the tournament stay on Kauai to help Kauai’s families.
Last year, Easter Seals Hawaii, Kauai branches, serve more than 230 infants, children, youth, and adults through its range of programs.