Hawai‘iUSA supports reading

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    The Hawai‘iUSA crew, including Jeanne Yukitomo, Susan Murakami, Taylor Shigemoto, Malia Valmoja, and Keaka Kuikahi show off the Spring Reading Challenge materials located in the new Hawai‘iUSA Outreach office that opened Tuesday morning at the Kukui Grove Center.

LIHU‘E — The Hawai‘iUSA Community Outreach office opened for business, Tuesday morning at the Kukui Grove Center — just in time for the Department of Education Spring Break.

Hawai‘iUSA got a headstart on its “soft opening” by being a sponsor of the Dr. Seuss Birthday, Read Across America program. Saturday that had shoppers receiving special Dr. Seuss hats, an imagination station hosted by the Kaua‘i Association for Family and Community Education, Kalaheo School students providing a preview of their upcoming “Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” production, and more activities demonstrating the importance of reading.

“Books can take you anywhere, in your imagination,” said Elyse Litvack, a retired teacher and president of Kumu’s Cupboard, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Kaua‘i’s educators through a free store for Kaua‘i’s teachers. “You just never know what a difference it will make.”

The Saturday reading activity also served as a fundraider for Kumu’s Cupboard, Sheila Bradley of UsBorne Books noting that many people left with stacks of books to read, and as a result, more than $1,000 was raised in free books for Kumu’s Cupboard that will eventually go to Kaua‘i teachers in the classroom.

Ahead of its opening, Hawai‘iUSA also presented a contribution to Kumu’s Cupboard for its support of educators. Taylor Shigemoto and his crew of Hawai‘iUSA associates opening the Kukui Grove branch also joined the support for the Spring Reading Challenge that was launched, Saturday as a fun Spring Break activity designed to keep young people reading as well as provide parents an activity they can do with their children.

The soft opening of the Hawai‘iUSA Community Outreach office offers people who missed the Saturday launch a place they can pick up forms to get started as well as select the free books earned by reading. The office is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday hours are from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Hawai‘iUSA’s sponsorship of this event made it possible to purchase a beautiful selection of books for all age groups and reading levels for the Spring Reading Challenge,” said Melissa McFerrin-Warrack, the specialty leasing and marketing manager for Kukui Grove Center. “UsBorne Books donated 50 percent of the books purchased for the Spring Reading Challenge. All the kids at the Saturday Read Across America event were given a reading poster where they can record the stories they read at home over the next two weeks. Once completed, the families return to the Hawai‘iUSA Community Outreach office for a free book of their choice.”

Families missing the Read Across America event are invited to participate in the Spring Reading Challenge by picking up their special poster at the Hawai‘iUSA office that is located at the Times Supermarket entrance to the shopping center. Book redemption for the completed forms will continue through March 31.

Hawai‘iUSA announced its arrival on Kaua‘i by sponsoring the Slippah Drop event during the 2019 Kaua‘i Charity Walk last year at the North Vidinha fields. Hawai‘iUSA returns as the Slippah Drop sponsor for the 2020 Kaua‘i Charity Walk that will take place May 9 at the North Vidinha fields.

Taylor Shigemoto of Hawai‘iUSA said the outreach office is just an interim stopping point while they work on a main office that is scheduled to open later this year in the Kukui Grove Center. A more formal grand opening will be held when that office opens.

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