Mike Moon may have graduated a St. Louis Crusader, but the director of operations for Dole Plantation is a full-fledged Waialua Bulldog.
It all started when he took up his first stint managing one of Hawaii’s most-popular attractions from 1992 to 1994. Moon got even more immersed in the surrounding community after marrying his wife, Kimberly, a Waialua native. He has also coached the Waialua High and Intermediate girls’basketball teams and served as a director on the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, all experiences he credits for his great affection for the place and the numerous people who live and work in the area.
“I discovered that Waialua was an incredibly tight-knit community of educators, business people and parents who really supported innovative learning and academic achievement. And then there are the kids,” says the proud father of three daughters, the oldest of which is a student at Waialua High. “Once you meet and work with the kids, there is something about their attitudes and fortitude that inspires you and creates the feeling of wanting to get involved at some level.”
That and the fact public schools across the state struggle with funding spurred Moon to start a fundraising campaign for the high school’s robotics team. So imagine his pleasant surprise when upon returning to his post at Dole Plantation in 2007, he learned that parent-company Castle & Cooke was a long-time supporter of Waialua’s community and robotics team.
“During conversations with other people throughout the company, I realized that there were many resources at our fingertips that could help us make a difference,” he recalls. “We pulled our resources together and held the first luau fundraiser last May.”
They were able to generate $10,000, all of which supported the team’s travels to competitions and to hone their skills. FYI: Waialua’s robotics team took the prestigious Chairman’s Award in the 2009 FIRST Hawaii Regional Robotics Competition and snagged a Judge’s Award during their sixth appearance at the international FIRST Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta this past April.
Earlier this month, Moon and the teams at Dole Plantation and Castle & Cooke Properties threw another luau and presented “The Hawaiian Kids” with another $10,000, something Moon hopes will become an annual event.
“After all is said and done, this is truly done for the community and the kids who are on the team each year,” he confesses, adding that the highlight of the past two year’s events has been when the graduating seniors announce where they will be attending college.
“I am convinced that all of the students who choose to be part of the (team) will do something very productive with their lives. And I firmly believe that each of us as part of this community can do something to motivate young people to succeed by serving as a mentor, a coach or even deciding to organize a fundraiser.”
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