Simple gestures make big difference

Ryder (not his real name) has never been a loud or troubling student.

“When I joined Hale Kipa and began working with Ryder, I was confused as to why he was in the program,” wrote his case worker. “He’s a story of another kid who only needed a little help in the right direction.”

Ryder was “sick” for five days of school in September, which got him a referral to the program. Hale Kipa spent some time talking with Ryder, but he contended that he genuinely was just sick for those days. From that point on, he only had two unexcused absent days remaining for the remainder of the school year.

“Ryder enjoyed getting lunch as a reward for showing up for school every day, I think the fact that he knew someone was watching and cared that he was present had a tremendous affect on his attendance and on his school year,” wrote the case worker. “

Sometimes, something as simple as bringing a plate lunch and reminding a person that we care makes all the difference in the world to a student who could be struggling, and this was the case with Ryder.

Ryder’s is an example of the stories The Garden Island shares daily through Christmas Eve about real people (we don’t use their real names) facing challenges and who would appreciate a little help through The Garden Island/Zonta Christmas Fund.

In the past two years, the fund has raised more than $50,000, and every dollar has gone toward bringing joy to those who otherwise would likely go without anything on Christmas.

This program has been around since the 1980s and is headed up by Dimples Kano, 93, who has led it for nearly two decades and refuses to retire because she loves the happiness it brings to others.

This year, about 400 families applied for help through the fund.

Donations to the Christmas Fund are used by Zonta Club members to purchase local gift certificates that are in turn distributed via social service agencies to families in December.

Checks, payable to Zonta Club of Kauai Foundation, can be mailed to P.O. Box 3032, Lihue, HI 96766. For further information, call Kano at 822-4517.


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