Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022 |
Share this story
As the holiday season approaches and we start to stress, scouring the sales to find the right gifts for the people that we care about, there’s one lady who calmly continues to spread her gifts of aloha, as she does every day of the year.
Her name is Emmaline Kaili.
Emmaline is one of the few people on our islands who is of pure Hawaiian ancestry. She was born at Wilcox Memorial Hospital on March 18, 1966 and has lived on Kauai for most of her life.
You may have run into Emmaline somewhere in our community, as she has an extensive work history. She has been a tour guide at Kamokila Hawaiian Village, a courtesy clerk at 7-11, as well as Kapaa Big Save and Safeway, a dishwasher at Olympic Cafe, a landscaper at St. Michael’s Church, and has also worked at Fun Factory and as a maid at Southside hotels.
Emmaline first experienced mental illness at age 35 and became a member of Friendship House 15 years ago. These days, you can find her working alongside staff and other members, helping to run the Clubhouse so people with a mental illness have a safe, accepting place to go where they can engage in meaningful work and find purpose in their lives.
Emmaline started out making flower and ti leaf leis to give to people because one day in church, she watched a boy give his grandmother a lei, and was touched by what she felt was a pure act of love.
That experience stuck with her and since then, she has freely given leis to all of the people in her life. Initially, these leis were made from flowers and ti leaves. A few years ago, Emmaline discovered yarn leis. She realized she was pretty good at working with yarn, and now has a small lei-making business on the side so she can she can continue to afford to make the leis that she freely gives out.
Every member and staff at Friendship House has been a recipient of a lei from Emmaline on their birthday. She also makes sure that every guest that walks through the Clubhouse door receives a lei.
Her care home operator, the members of her church, and many Safeway employees have all received Emmaline’s leis. Christmas and Halloween are busy holidays for Emmaline as she makes orange and white leis for Halloween, and plenty of leis for Christmas for other people to give as gifts.
And sometimes, Emmaline will surprise someone with a lei, “just because.” No matter what the occasion, the recipient of the lei is always left with the feeling of being loved.
So as you’re rushing around this season looking for that special gift for that special day for those special people in your life, remember that for Emmaline, every day is special — every person deserves a loving gesture — and the season of giving is all year long.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
By participating in online discussions you
acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful
discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments
are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines,
send us an email.