The Heroines Of Project Grad
Wednesday - July 09, 2008
I have had the privilege of working with two dedicated young ladies. For the last four years, they have volunteered to chair the Project Graduation activities for Farrington High School. They do this from the heart and expect nothing in return, except to see a successful alcohol- and drug-free event, full of fun and everlasting memories for these graduating seniors.
This labor of love started in 2005, the year that their own children were graduating from Farrington, and ended up taking over a program that has seen its fair share of trouble. In less than three months, they succeeded in saving the program for the 2005 graduates, then for 2006, 2007 and 2008.
We live in an area of mostly low-income housing projects with a lot of immigrant families. This means a lot of kids do not have the money to go to these events, which cost them between $250 and $270. We do not charge the students the full amount, which means we have to fundraise the rest. We do not always generate enough money to cover the extra cost. So these ladies take it upon themselves to work at concession stands at UH sporting events, sometimes with their family members, other committee members and students.
I think this deserves some sort of recognition to show we appreciate what these ladies have done for the community and the students of Farrington High School. I know that I thank them.
Marvalene Ahlo says it has been exciting working with the parents and students every year. “It started with my son’s year, 2005,” she says. “Keri Jean Kepaa, Julia Gututala, Richard and other parents wanted it to happen because the kids wanted it. Just to see their faces that night makes it all worth it.”
Last weekend I was tidepooling out at a beach park in Nanakuli called Depot’s when I slid off a rock, fell on my left arm and broke it. There was a group of teenage boys jumping off the ledge into the waves. When they heard me scream, they all came running to help me out of the water and back onto the beach. They even went chasing after my Crocs, which were floating in the water.
There were two lifeguards who saw it happen and they came running, too, with a first aid kit, ice packs and a sling for my arm.
Unfortunately I think I may have been a little in shock, so I didn’t get anyone’s name. But I wanted to say mahalo nui to all those kids and the lifeguards who were so awesome when I really needed help most.
Your Ocean Safety angels were Sam Magno and Kaimana Beauford. “That was a really busy day,” says Sam. “We had a couple of rescues and a lot of first aid situations. There was a little south swell with waves breaking onto the reef. I was in the water keeping an eye on some kids when a big set of waves came through. It pushed the kids around and then I heard the lady scream. I alerted Kaimana and he came running. I paddled in and met him on the beach. She was in a lot of pain, so we helped her up and administered first aid. We also had to patch up some of the kids who were cut up. She thanked us and we went right out again. It was that kind of day. That’s why we’re there. I love working for the city and I love making sure the beaches are safe.”
(If you know someone who deserves some Applause, send your letters to Pamela Young, MidWeek Applause, KITV, 801 S. King St., Honolulu, HI, 96813 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, phone number and, if possible, the phone number of your “applaudee” so we can contact him or her.)
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