LIHU‘E — Tina Albao, the Boys &Girls Club of Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i Director of Operations and Development, said she just got the keys to the Hokulei Shopping Village site, Monday, the first day of the BGCH summer program.
“This is exciting,” Albao said. “We are sold out at 71 students for the Lihu‘e Clubhouse, 60 at the West Kaua‘i site and 60 at the Kapa‘a Clubhouse. Lea Nuesca, our site leader at the West Kaua‘i Clubhouse is also renting additional space at the West Kaua‘i Tech Center to expand its capacity.”
The BGCH Kapa‘a Clubhouse is looking forward to receiving approval to move forward with its restroom and other clubhouse renovation projects, Albao said.
“I decided to rent the former school space at Hokulei Village to allow for our programs to stretch into additional space for Lihu‘e capacity,” Albao said. “Stacie Chiba Miguel and A&B Properties were so accommodating, and we cannot do what we do without our corporate partners.”
Albao said in order to accommodate the added capabilities at the West Kaua‘i Clubhouse, they are contemplating hiring interns from the Waimea High School Early Education program in hope that these interns will become mentors in the BGCH programs.
“The Lihu‘e Clubhouse has a waitlist of more than 50 youth who would like to receive BGCH services,” Albao said. “In order to accomplish this, we need to raise funds for additional staffing, space and supplies. Our Lihu‘e Clubhouse teens will be utilizing the Hokulei space for the next few weeks. They will use the space similar to a base camp while they go out and about doing community service.”
Tavia Rapozo, one of the site leaders at the Hokulei Village space, said there were 20 students who spent the day Tuesday in Koke‘e working with invasives by pulling out invasive blackberry.
Albao said the additional space allows everyone to stretch out.
“Additional summer spaces allow us, not only the ability to increase capacity but have the space to break down larger groups to facilitate greater learning opportunities,” she said. “Smaller groups allow intentional programs with even smaller youth-to-mentor ratios. The youth may have a higher desired level to learn, grow, and integrate into their studies, community service, and workforce development projects.”
This was demonstrated recently when teen members of the Lihu‘e Clubhouse worked on cleaning up and repainting the picnic tables at the clubhouse as an enhancement to the recent in-kind contribution from the Shioi Construction Co. who laid concrete in the clubhouse’s courtyard area.
“The ability to break down into smaller groups is a necessity that we all witnessed during COVID-19 in order to promote health and safety,” Albao said. “We will continue to promote safety as our number one goal well into the future.”