LIHUE — The backpack contribution, one for each year of her life, launched Kadee Parubrub’s 11th birthday Friday at the special Backpack Brigade collection site provided by the Kukui Grove Center.
“She doesn’t want a birthday party,” said Kadee’s mom Sherri Parubrub who helped her lug in 11 backpacks, each laden with school supplies for children in need provided by the outreach workers from the Child and Family Service. “Instead of a party, Kadee is doing 11 random acts of kindness. The backpacks are the start of these acts of kindness. She’s got 10 more lined up.”
The 11 backpacks represent each year Kadee has been on this Earth, Sherri said. This is the third year she has contributed to the Backpack Brigade.
“What moves me about this contribution of school supplies is the late U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye,” said Rep. Derek Kawakami who waited to contribute his own backpacks. “When the Aloha Iki program started and we were packing school supplies in a Puhi warehouse, Sen. Inouye was with us, working with us to pack school supplies for children. He said when he was in elementary school, he noticed that a young boy in his class was not present on the first day of school. He missed school for an entire week, and when he did come to school, Senator Inouye asked him about it. The little boy looked at him and sheepishly said, ‘No mo’ pencil.’”
Elyse Litvack, a Guilda helping Sharon Lasker coordinate the Back to School effort, said she fully understands the story because she was a teacher.
“Having your school supplies before you get to school is important,” Litvack said. “It is not the same as having a teacher give you supplies when you get to school. It has deep psychological impact on the child.”
Lasker said people can help by either “adopting” a child and purchasing a backpack along with school supplies needed by the student’s school and grade, or simply contributing financially and having a Guilda shop for the students.
When a person adopts a child, a Guilda will provide a child’s name and appropriate information for shopping.
Last year, through the generosity of people like Kadee who went above and beyond and supplied 24 backpacks, all of the students provided by the Child and Family Services were able to return to school with new backpacks and smiles.