Acts of Aloha – Neighbor Islands

Jeeyun Lee
Hawaii Nature Center, Wailuku

"Hawai‘i Nature Center has been sharing aloha for more than 30 years. The nonprofit organization is composed of a small team of committed and passionate nature lovers who are environmental education experts – helping children grow in love and compassion as the next generation of environmental stewards. Aloha is the Hawaiian word for love, affection, peace, compassion and mercy, that is commonly used as a simple greeting but has a deeper cultural and spiritual significance to so many whom embrace the value as their own. Through school trips, nature camps and weekend events, O‘ahu and Maui children cultivate love, compassion and caring for the environment and each other as protectors and stewards of our island paradise. In addition, the organization focuses its outreach on vulnerable populations that would not otherwise have access to environment education. HNC embraces homeless families, rural communities and children in poverty with creative and innovative programs. Their expression of aloha in their team work and work with families and children make them deserving of the Route 99 Acts of Aloha Award." Nominated by Jacque Vaughn

Kanani Kan Hai

"I got the chance today to visit KE KULA ‘O PI‘ILANI, an independent Hawaiian education school on Maui Island, and was blown away. From the story of how this school started, what they've gone through to get to this point and hearing the passion of those involved toward preserving and passing to the children and families the rich culture we have of the islands. To see the joy in each child's eyes as they interacted with their kumu and the various lesson plans in place for not just the kids but the families as well, gave me chicken skin. It's not about the money... it's about providing and growing a wonderful opportunity for the kids. From school supplies to funds for excursions or pay that can bring on more teachers/staff and expand the amount of keiki who can participate. What better cause is there than the preservation of language, culture and enriching the lives of the children for generations to come. Nominated by Josh Byrnes, NY Life