Kalaeloa was abuzz with excitement as preschool children, parents, grandparents, caregivers, and staff prepared for a visit by Congresswoman Mazie Hirono. A long time advocate of early education and supporter of the Tūtū & Me Traveling Preschool program, Rep. Hirono was invited by PIDF President Jan Dill, to experience the Tūtū & Me concept as utilized within the homeless community by the Ka Pa‘alana Preschool Program.
Over the course of her stay, the Ka Pa‘alana staff was able to demonstrate for the Congresswoman the versatility of this early education system in its ability to be successfully transferred to even the most challenging environment.
The only one of its kind in the Nation, the Ka Pa‘alana program provides this opportunity for over 125 preschool children at four different homeless sites and shelters on the west side of O‘ahu. An opportunity not otherwise available to them.
“Breaking the cycle of poverty” is paramount for Ka Pa‘alana program director Danny Goya, and preparing children for the rigors of education is a basic need in the path toward self sufficiency.
The Congresswoman was honest in her exchanges with students and caregivers, and participated in frank discussions with those who came forth to speak to her. But, it wasn’t all business. She also took time to read to the children, and participate in “Doing the Hokey-Pokey – Hawaiian Style!”
Mahalo nui āpau loa Congresswoman Mazie Hirono for taking the time to visit with our children… And for giving them hope for their future.