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Partners in Development Foundation Celebrates National Foster Care Month at the Windward Mall with “Rekindle Hope” Event

To celebrate the month of May 2009 as National Foster Care Month, Partners in Development Foundation, Kokua ‘Ohana, Hui Ho‘omalu, and its partnering organizations of the “Foster Care Training Committee*” collaborated with the management of Windward Mall to honor our foster youth and resource families.

Hosted at the Mall’s Center Stage by MC’s Marty Oliphant and Billy V, “Rekindle Hope” featured lots of activities, on stage testimonials, and award winning entertainment.

The goal of the event was to collaboratively inspire our communities to consider fostering through education and outreach, and to provide a venue for community partners to share their resources and services.

The testimonials given by former foster children who are now adults, like Rachel Cruz and Blake Lanoza were inspirational. While both took the stage to entertain the crowd, they also shared personal stories of growing up as a foster child. Blake is now President of the Hawai‘i Foster Youth Coalition, and Rachel is an aspiring recording artist who performed her original composition “Back Where I Belong”.

Newly recruited foster parent Sam Kapu III, and Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner Kawika Kahiapo entertained the crowd with wonderful Hawaiian music befitting an event of this kind. Communities in Schools demonstrated an intergenerational celebration of Hawaiian values. A highlight of the day was the appearance of His Honor the Mayor of Honolulu, Mufi Hanneman to present a Proclamation recognizing May as National Foster Care Month.

“Rekindle Hope: Become A Foster Parent” was indeed a success, as it brought attention to the needs of our foster children, while recognizing those who care enough to welcome them in their home as one of the family.

*Event Participants: Breakthroughs, Community in Schools – HI, Family Programs Hawaii, Foster Youth Coalition/Kids Hurt Too, Heart Gallery Hawaii, Hui Ho‘omalu, Kapiolani Child Protection Center – Dr. Steven Choy, Kokua ‘Ohana, Partners In Development Foundation.