Homeward Bound 5k Organizers

Christina O'Connor
Wednesday - December 14, 2011
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(From left) Maya Grossmann, Noe Lum, Hallie Lam and Tama Fukuyama. Photo by Christina OʼConnor

As a child, Punahou senior Tama Fukuyama volunteered at the Institute for Human Services (IHS) with her family and met individuals who were in need of food, clothing or just a place to sleep. A few years later, as a sophomore in high school, she was on a run with her friend Maya Grossmann, whom she knew from track and cross country, when inspiration struck: She thought of a way to help people at IHS.

“We were stopped at a stoplight, and Tama turns to me and says, ‘We should start a race,’” says Grossmann, who is also a senior at Punahou. “I didn’t think about it, I just said yes.”

That spur-of-the-moment idea has blossomed into the Homeward Bound 5K an annual run/walk, now in its third year, that has raised thousands of dollars for IHS, which provides a range of services for homeless or atrisk families and individuals. IHS offers food, shelter, clothing, health care and support services. The organization also provides clients with education and employment-training programs.

When Fukuyama and Grossmann took that fateful run, it was the year that the recession began, which was part of the reason they chose IHS as the beneficiary for the race: It was a way to reach out to those who were struggling. The girls say that one of their teachers tells them at the beginning of each school year: “To whom much is given, much is expected,” they recite together.

For Fukuyama, her volunteer experience years earlier was something that had always stuck with her. “I remember touring the shelter and seeing the sleeping arrangements, which were small compartments, basically,” she says. “I just always wanted to do something for the families there ... That has always been in the back of my mind.”

Grossmann adds that she feels she is fortunate to have been given a wonderful education and consequently feels the need to “ask what I can do ... to make this community better because of it.”

Both girls are off to college next year Fukuyama has plans to go into medicine, and Grossmann wants to pursue marine biology. But their efforts for IHS will continue. They are passing the torch to two sophomores Hallie Lam and Noe Lum who will organize the race next year.

The Homeward Bound 5K is Sunday at 7 a.m. at Manoa Valley District Park. Participants can register for $25 Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Running Room on Kapahulu Avenue. Or register on race day for $30. For more information, visit ihshawaii.org.


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