Mahalo for a record-setting Keiki Day

This one was for the keiki. And boy, did the people respond.

And for that, we thank you.

The annual Keiki Day fundraiser by Parents and Children Together set a newspaper sales record on May 11. More than 1,500 volunteers on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island joined in to sell copies of the 28th annual Keiki Day edition, and sell they did to support the nonprofit family agency.

When it was all over, an all-time record of 56,840 copies were sold, generating more than $75,000 in sales and donations. The promotion benefited the fine work of the folks at PACT, whose mission is to support and promote a healthy and positive lifestyle for children and families around Hawaii through social services and educational programs.

It is sponsored by Oahu Publications Inc., which owns The Garden Island, West Hawaii Today and The Hawaii Tribune Herald on the Big Island and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Volunteers fanned out around Kauai, selling the publication for $1, and many donated $5, $10 and $20. Among the locals who gave their time to sell the Keiki Day edition were Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr., Councilman Derek Kawakami, Ron Wiley of KQNG Radio and Ron Wood of FM97. Without the efforts of these volunteers, the promotion aimed at helping PACT and raising awareness of its services could not be so successful. Many sponsors, through generous contributions, get a mahalo, too.

The reason for all this? Why did more than 1,000 people around Hawaii help the Keiki Day edition? There is no better cause than kids. Here is how PACT plays a big role for our keiki:

PACT is a family service agency that assists over 18,000 people a year. These programs are available to struggling families to allow parents to work through their problems together, rather than continuing to argue and break away from one another.

The organization started in 1968 as a single program in Kalihi and has grown into an organization that helps many families across the state every year. It now offers services on Maui, Molokai, Lanai and the Big Island, as well as Oahu and Kauai.

PACT offers facilities such as family centers, domestic violence shelters and transitional housing to residents statewide.

Promoting a healthy connection between children and their parents is a necessity and can go a long way in terms of a child’s ability to grow and develop interpersonal and problem solving skills, said Marie Vorsino, vice president of Intervention Programs at PACT Kauai.

There are two programs on Kauai: a family visitation center and Intensive Support Services Program.

The Intensive Support Services Program assists families whose children have serious emotional, social and behavioral challenges. Services are designed to increase parental participation and include Multisystemic Therapy, an intervention model for children with willful misconduct disorder. MST helps the family to supervise and support their child’s adjustment in the community. Functional Family Therapy is an evidence-based family treatment system for youth experiencing one of a wide range of externalizing behavior disorders along with family problems.

“Our family visitation center provides an opportunity for court-ordered, non-custodial parents to have a safe and family-like home setting to visit with their children,” Vorsino said. “They can play games; they can have a meal; it’s completely monitored and completely supervised. It’s a really nice opportunity for parents and children to build that relationship in a safe and neutral environment.”

The Keiki Day edition sold on Kauai also featured our winners of art and essay contests:

w Katelyn Lopes, a fourth-grade student from Kalaheo Elementary School, was a winner of the essay contest, being joined by Anna Hawks, a junior at Kapaa High School, and Lilly Olpin, a senior at Kauai High School.

w Katie Lambden, a fifth-grade student at Hanalei School, is joined by Lisie Coombs, recently moved to Alaska, and Nohea Balai, a sixth-grade student at the Kapaa Middle School, as winners of the art contest.

Keiki Day is PACT’s largest fundraising event of the year and funding can be used wherever it is needed most. This is critical to fill in the gaps and cover key programs that may not otherwise have funding. Keiki Day has raised approximately $60,000 for PACT in each of the last few years. This year, it reached new heights. That’s cause for celebration.

We thank those who made Keiki Day a big success. Your big hearts will have an impact on youth today, and for generations to come.

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