Many times we look at the next generation and wonder if we have instilled in them the values and inner strength necessary to make the world a better place. Sometimes, we look at news headlines and the answer is a resounding “no.” Yet, when we look carefully, into individuals who quietly make a difference in the community around them, we realize that the next generation of community changers is not found in news headlines but all around us. We just need to look a little deeper, and listen a little more intently.
Talia Mossman, a sixth grader at Kamehameha Schools, is one of those individuals, one of the next generation of community changers. On February 10, 2011, Mike Kahue, Youth Program Coordinator for Kama‘ehu, spoke at a gathering of sixth grade students at Kamehameha Schools as part of the school’s service learning initiative. Mike spoke about his work with homeless families and the many opportunities available for the students to volunteer their time and serve those in need. Quietly soaking in the information was Talia.
When Talia’s teacher asked her what she wanted to do as her service learning project, she decided to focus her work on homeless families and quietly went to work. Of course, “quiet” is deceiving because her efforts were anything but quiet. She solicited neighbors and church members, created posters, gave impromptu talks, all in an effort to collect items to donate to homeless families on the Leeward Coast of O‘ahu. A few weeks after Mike spoke at Kamehameha Schools, the Ka Pa‘alana office received a phone call from Talia, who politely coordinated a date and time to drop off the donations she had collected.
On March 28, 2011, Talia arrived at Ka Pa‘alana’s office accompanied by her mother and a car full of donations. In fact, Talia had collected so many items that she had to make two separate trips to drop everything off. In the end she collected 16 bags and 14 boxes full of miscellaneous items ranging from hygiene products to canned food, all of which were handed out to homeless families in need.
We would like to thank Talia not just for the donations she collected, but for educating the community about the needs of homeless families. It is heartening to know that the future is in the hands of individuals like Talia.