ANAHOLA — The Keala Foundation recently returned to Anahola with its free CrossFit program.
“This has been getting attention all over the world,” Aaron Hoff, founder of the foundation said.
A verbal notice was given to the foundation in September 2018 to vacate a community gym, where they offered programs to keiki and adults for a short time.
“The CrossFit gym was installed prematurely without a recorded beneficiary consultation from the community,” said Department of Hawaiian Home Lands spokesman Cedric Duarte in a story published in The Garden Island October 24, 2018. “While there has been an outcry of public support the gym, there is a process in place for all beneficiaries to share their thoughts.”
Keala Foundation reopened CrossFit in a private home with a big celebration.
The foundation’s mission statement is, “We are fighting the epidemic of addiction, depression, and suicide in Hawaii by building communities that stand together and lift each other up.”
CEO of the Keala Foundation, Rory Zambard said it was the best for all involved to follow the verbal warning to vacate the area. The foundation has locations in Poipu, Anahola, and Kekaha.
“We were just verbally asked to leave the premise while they went through their proper channels to be able to see if it was possible to use the space,” Zambard said. “They served physical eviction notices to everyone else that was on the property. They had popped up shop pretty much, people who were living there. They were gracious enough, they gave us a verbal ask rather than a paper notice.”
The Keala Foundation is a nonprofit 501c(3) who serve nearly 600 children islandwide, according to Hoff. The foundation teaches the children and willing adults gymnastics, and aerobics along with many other activities, including weightlifting to the older children.
“We’ve got 5-year-olds all the way up to 65-year-olds,” Zambard said.
The foundation provides these services free of charge to the community and even does pickup and dropoff in 16 passenger vans to the three locations as well as feed the children after the classes, something they have found is needed.
“We feed them after every class so they can receive healthy nutrition, which we know is needed,” Zambard said.
In addition to the 600 children the foundation now serves, there are also around 100 adults enrolled in the Poipu and Kekaha programs, Zambard said.
The foundation plans on finding a more permanent place for the Anahola program within the next six months, but for now, the residence offered up by Bronson and Kai Lovell will have to do as a temporary fix.
“Donate to help us to create a positive community, build healthy relationships, and provide resources to the children and families in Anahola,” their website reads about the Anahola location, where donations from the community for the project are accepted. “We’re looking to fund a forever-home for the gym, invite hundreds of kids into our programs, provide transportation, food, and mentorship to the community.”
Duarte, contacted by TGI last week, said that DHHL has no record of a formal verbal notice given by their land management and enforcement division.
“Neither one of those divisions have heard of a notice to vacate in the Anahola area,” Duarte said.
Ryan Collins, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: This story has been edited to reflect a change in when the verbal notice was given to the Keala Foundation to vacate the community gym in Anahola.