LIHUE — Dr. Kani Blackwell was happy Friday at the Walmart store.
“The governing board of Alaka‘i O Kauai Charter School is thrilled our proposal, ‘A Sound Investment for the Future,’ was funded by the Walmart Foundation,” said Blackwell, known more affectionately as Dr. B and the governing board chair of Alaka‘i O Kauai Charter School. “These funds are a great investment for our Kauai community, not only in learning tools, but also in supporting our youth.”
The school which just found a home received a grant of $32,500. The Walmart Foundation also gave the Kauai Lifeguard Association $32,500, and the Kauai Planning & Action Alliance was presented $30,000.
Walmart manager Diane Keeler and co-manager Jordan Valdez distributed $95,000 in awards Friday.
“We feel it is important to give back to the island communities we serve,” said Lance McAlister, Hawaii market manager for Walmart. “On behalf of our more than 4,000 Walmart associates in Hawaii, including more than 250 on Kauai, we are proud to support these valuable social service programs.”
Grant funds for the Alaka‘i will be used to help purchase computer tables for some of the 165 learners at the school, which will be located at Kahili Mountain Park and scheduled to open next year.
“I’m going to go there,” said Sylvan Reeves, a fourth-grade student at the Kapaa Elementary School. “I’m excited.”
Tyrus Siale, a Kauai lifeguard, said the support from Walmart can go a long way toward saving lives.
“The Kauai Lifeguard Association is very thankful for the Walmart Foundation contribution,” said Dr. Monty Downs, KLA president. “In particular, the funding supports equipment and servicing needed for our roving patrol units, including four-wheel-drive trucks, trailers, all-terrain vehicles, rescue boards and first aid equipment. The patrols at our unguarded beaches in this first year of implementation (January through October) have rescued 36 beach goers.”
The Kauai Planning & Action Alliance grant for $30,000 will be used to support Keiki to Career’s early literacy project being introduced at Kekaha School, with the aim of improving student reading proficiency by the end of the third grade in three student environments — home, school and community.
“Keiki to Career has been working to help all of our Kauai youth get ready for life,” said Marion Paul, the Kauai Planning & Action Alliance president and coordinator for Keiki to Career. “The check from Walmart is an incredible gift to bring the community together so Kekaha Elementary students will improve their reading skills.”