Kekaha School alum gives back

  • Courtesy of Mayrose Munar

    Maizie Harris and her mother Amber Hansen-Harris joins Mayrose Munar and her son Ansel Tort in looking over one of the cartons of books being shipped to the Kekaha School library.

Mayrose Munar, a graduate of Kekaha School and a resident of Redwood City, Calif., will be shipping more than 5,000 books to Kekaha School.

The books are a result of a book drive sparked by Munar several months ago in Redwood City after visiting her former school and learning the library’s collection of books was reduced to just a few rows of titles.

“Over the past six months, I’ve met with principals at Waimea High School, Kekaha Elementary School, and the Waimea Canyon Middle School to dig into the needs of the students there,” Munar said in an email. “On one of those trips, I stumbled onto Keiki to Career and their reading buddies program, which then prompted me to donate towards their summer reading, and also launch an ‘end-of-school-year’ book drive in Redwood City.”

She started her crusade by donating to the Keiki to Career program, which supports student reading at home, in school, and in the community.

“We knew a summer reading program would be a valuable addition to our work,” said Marion Paul, the Kekaha School Keiki to Career coordinator. “It would help reduce a student’s typical summer slide in reading ability. But we did not have the funds for the books. We were delighted when Mayrose called and offered to pay for all of the summer books. Her generosity is heartfelt.”

Munar, growing up on Kauai and being inspired by books to dream, did more.

She formed the “Help and a Hug Foundation” after a donor advised her to fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation to raise money for Kauai’s keiki. She also enlisted the help of a close friend to pull together a grassroots campaign in Redwood City and the San Francisco Peninsula to get books for Kekaha School’s library and students.

Working with Keiki to Career Kauai and HCF, Munar is developing resources for marginalized student on the island she grew up on.

The campaign found life with a lemonade stand, signs and advertising through personal networks with the children making the lemonade and baked goods to sell. It attracted scores of neighbors, friends and the community at large to drop by and donate books.

“Kids came and showed us the books that were part of their beloved collections,” Munar said. “They hand-picked and hand-delivered their books to us. This simple act of giving a book from one child to another created a lasting impact on everyone.”

Additionally, the Help and the Hug Foundation sought to help their own keiki by teaching them the joy of giving back to the community.

Munar took the inspiration from books to build on what she learned from reading to build her success as a leader in well-known Silicon Valley companies, including Google and Uber, where she most recently is chief of staff. She is also a community leader who adds purpose to her life as an advocate for equal-opportunity education.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or

  1. I saw a Vampire once August 30, 2018 11:05 am Reply

    From Where? The names sounds “All american.”

  2. I saw a Vampire once August 30, 2018 11:15 am Reply

    Do you know anyone in town named Ulanday? I guess not. You’re someone else then. Election year. General.

  3. I saw a Vampire once August 30, 2018 11:25 am Reply

    1985 Waimea high school graduation year. “All American” her classmates there then in high school. Quarterback #23? That guy played football. High school team. I guess this was not you.

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