There is a wise old African proverb that states “it takes a village to raise a child,” meaning it takes an entire community to come together to ensure that children experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment.
Fast forward to modern-day 2020 on Kaua‘i, and we would say “it takes an island to raise our keiki.”
Some people on Kaua‘i have joined forces to provide “Aloha — What it Means to My Family and Yours” books from Aloha Publishing Hawaii, 100% locally made and printed, for many of the elementary schools on-island that have experienced budget cuts due to the pandemic.
The books have been used by various schools on-island during the past five years to help students learn about the importance of the lessons of aloha as shared by the upbringing of co-author Lahela Keikila‘au‘owakanahele Chandler Correa.
The books share Hawaiian culture and traditions through the universal lessons of aloha, such as aloha is kindness, pono, respect, kokua, to name a few. As equally important right now is they support the social/emotional well-being of keiki during this extremely challenging and uncertain year.
Many educators, teachers, counselors and kumu each share the same feeling.
Now more than ever these books are serving a particularly important part in education.
At a time when arts, physical education, Hawaiian studies and in-person learning are minimal or non-existent, they fill the need or the void. They are also well-received because they give students a chance to get off their computers and get creative through drawing, writing, discussion and engaging in interactive activities.
Ann Hettinger from Aloha Movement Kaua‘i, a local nonprofit that focuses on education, teamed up with Joy Brahmst from the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay, and reached out to secure funding for the book project.
Paul Zina, state Department of Education Kaua‘i Complex Area superintendent, recently expressed in a letter to Aloha Movement Kaua‘i as follows: “Your donation of cultural books provides our students the opportunity to explore different cultures and cultural diversity. Knowledge of cultural diversity allows students to feel more confident in their interactions with others. I am privileged to recognize your heartfelt contribution and abundant support of their educational needs.”
It took many amazing, compassionate businesses, clubs, organizations and individuals to come together to provide assistance to students, educators and schools outside the immediate boundaries of their own community.
They realized that if a child is in need, it does not matter if they live on the east, west, north or south side. What matters is they are part of the island community.
With their kokua books were provided to Hanalei, Kanuikapono Public Charter, Kapa‘a Elementary, King Kaumuali‘i Elementary, Wilcox, ‘Ele‘ele, Koloa, Kekaha and Kula Aupuni Ni‘ihau A Kahelelani Aloha Public Charter schools.
Donors raised over $32,000 to make this project happen, including, in no particular order, Joy Brahmst, Namolokama O’ Hanalei Canoe Club, Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay, Hanalei Hawaiian Canoe Civic Club, Zonta Club Hanalei Foundation, Bali Hai Realty Inc. — John Ferry, Tom Lynch, Philip Kent, The Stanny Foundation, Janice Kohler, John Forrest and Deb Pate, Luke Evslin, Kaua‘i North Shore Lions Foundation, Hokuala Community Association, Timbers Resort, Bill Butler, Janet Nathanson, Kukui‘ula Outrigger Canoe Club, Mary Paterson, Rotary Club of Kapa‘a, Rotary Club of West Kaua‘i, Rotary Club of Po‘ipu Beach, Kaua‘i North Shore Community Foundation, Katherine Otsuji dba Appraisal Services, Kelly O’Brien and Martha Watson, Lori Mull, Kaua‘i, Marjorie Bennett, Nancy Vaughn, Lynn Christensen, David Dinner, Nancy Williams, John McNeal, Gaylord Wilcox, Nancy Merrill, Stephanie Huhn, Pam Dohrman, Diana Albergate, Charlene Dyer, Kristen Whitworth, Janet Willford, Bill Pence, Mark Wolfendale, Maile Smith, Jessia Muffet, Mary Day, Fran McDonald, Nathan Bassett, Lucy Mewese, Carolyn Trevino and Sharon Prater.
Contact Aloha Movement Kaua‘i at 651-8856 or email@example.com to donate, or for more information.