Our Hawai‘i South Tūtū and Me team hosted a keiki ho‘olaule‘a at the Pāhala Community Center in November as their Kick-Off event to express ho‘omaika‘i (gratitude) for the participants, alumni, supporters and partners in the communities we serve. It was also an opportunity to recruit more families to enroll in our program in Nā‘ālehu and Pāhala.
The team came together and hosted a fun filled day for all! Although the day started out as a rainy one, the sun peeked out as the event began. Team member Tiana created a colorful “carnival feel” with her hand painted signs. Elaine and Tori provided face painting and a variety of crafts, activities, and games that were enjoyed by all ages. An inviting, harvest-themed photo “booth” where everyone could take “selfies” and group pictures was another feature of our event, thanks to Alex’s artistic talents. Uncle Alan Stafford from the Hawaiian Civic Club brought kōnane boards and shared his knowledge of the game and its history, and even modified the game for our younger keiki. Music was provided by community members Jojo Akamu, Guy Sesson and Kimo Tyson. We even had a special guest appearance from Keoki Kahumoku who stopped by and graced us with his amazing slack key talent! At Circle Time, Alex shared a story about the gift of sharing entitled, “Too Many Mangos”– and to exemplify the gift of giving, many guests brought canned goods which we donated to the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, a local distribution point for the Hawai‘i Food Bank.
We were blessed to have help from many dedicated volunteers! We are grateful to the local community organization, O Kaʻū Kākou, who helped with setting up and even stayed to help clean up. They also donated food and supplies, including free shaved ice and popcorn! A big mahalo also goes to Pacific Quest as their students and staff helped to supervise the games and did an awesome job with the face painting! Mahalo to Elaine’s husband, Rick, for being there from the beginning all the way to the end helping with transporting supplies and just about anything else where help was needed. Mahalo to Pāhala Elementary and the Pre-K teacher, Lynne Fukuda for their kōkua. And to all the businesses that donated prizes for the raffle, we just couldn’t have done it without your generous support. Mahalo Nui!