Makeover fundraiser is for recovering addicts

LIHUE — Aaliyah Nero wants to give the people in the Plantation Coffee Company’s Love The Journey program a free makeover in August.

Usually the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School student inspires the young people of Kauai through her foundation, Keala’s Big Sister Club, with annual gift-card giveaways to those in need.

But she’s switching gears in August and targeting adults who are in Love The Journey program, which gives opportunities to those recovering from drug and alcohol addictions.

The goal is to give people in the program a boost toward staying on track to recovery.

“Love The Journey is a great program that helps recovering alcoholics and drug addicts start fresh and regain their lives back,” said Kawika Kualii, Plantation Coffee Company manager. “If they follow the program they will build great self-esteem, a support group and a step forward to their individual goals.”

Nero said she wanted to lift the spirits of people involved in the Love The Journey program and remind them that they’re beautiful and worthy individuals.

“If I can help brighten someone’s life in any way, that is awesome. I hope the community will help me make a difference in their lives,” Nero said.

The makeover event is set for Aug. 5 at Plantation Coffee Company in the lobby of the Lihue Plantation Building behind the Lihue post office, after work hours and, until then, Nero is collecting money and Ross gift cards to make the event happen.

The goal is to raise at least $1,000 in cash and gift cards for those involved in the 12-step program. The money and gift cards will be distributed at the Aug. 5 event, and donations will be used as rewards when those in the program meet milestones.

Nero was introduced to the people in the Love The Journey program through her mom, Stephanie Shinno, who eats lunch at Plantation Coffee Company during her break daily.

“I really get to know these men and women. They just want to better themselves, and I believe in them and their managers do, too,” Shinno said. “My daughter just wanted to be part of the solution and I am so proud of her.”

Keala’s Big Sister Club was formed in February 2015, and originally Nero targeted girls as the focus of her foundation.

That’s because she has two brothers and was begging her mom for a sister of her own.

“She really wanted a sister but that wasn’t going to be happening, so the foundation was a way for her to get that,” Shinno said.

Since the foundation’s creation, Nero has been distributing gift cards to less-fortunate children as a way to celebrate her birthday in December.

In order to pull off the newest fundraising makeover party in August, Nero said she’s looking for a hair stylist and makeup artist to donate their time.

For more information, contact Shinno at creativemindskauai@gmail.com.

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