HONOLULU – Hawaiian Airlines’ community outreach group, Team Kōkua, and partners have been working with interested Hawaiʻi public school principals on projects to freshen up their campuses and prepare for the new school year. The Kōkua Our Schools program will continue after the 2020-21 school year begins.
Three campus projects have been completed at Kaʻelepulu Elementary in Enchanted Lake, Waimea Canyon Middle on Kauaʻi, and Haleʻiwa Elementary on Oʻahu’s North Shore. The projects included landscaping work, classroom prep, student device cleaning and set-up, painting and mural installations. Two more projects are planned in July at Maunawili Elementary and King Kamehameha III Elementary in Lahaina.
The work has been supported with donations of supplies from City Mill Co., Ltd. and the labor, talent and expertise of POW! WOW! Hawaiʻi, local artists, and teams of Hawaiian Airlines employees who live in these communities. School staff guided and participated in the work.
“Our state and our business have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the resiliency and community spirit of our employees through Team Kōkua demonstrate again that they are our greatest asset. They just get it done,” said Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram. “Schools are a vital support to our working families and we’re happy to do what we can to help bring them back.”
The initiative came together in the spring after school campuses were closed during the early days of the pandemic and the state’s “safer at home” orders, when students and teachers began distance learning after spring break. Many Hawaiian Airlines employees were on voluntary furlough due to a significantly decreased flying schedule and the company sought opportunities to extend more kōkua into its communities. In addition to working with Lanakila Meals on Wheels and the Hawaii Foodbank, an offer to help the schools was presented to Hawaiʻi DOE leadership, who shared it with principals.
For the three projects completed thus far, Team Kōkua brought 221 volunteers who provided 1,064 hours of assistance, along with 55 hours provided by local artists.
City Mill Co., Ltd. donated $2,500 in supplies including paint, brushes and rollers, drop cloths, buckets and more. Hawaiian Airlines employees also donated an estimated $2,000 in paint and supplies to support the work.
A specially designed aloha mural was installed at Kaʻelepulu by POW! WOW! Hawaiʻi Director of Operations Jeff Gress and Co-Founder Kamea Hadar, with assistance from Alana Wilson. At Haleʻiwa Elementary, artists Jack Soren, Mark Visaya and Gary Fisher provided whimsical mauka-to-makai designs on student bathroom entrances. Two more POW! WOW! aloha murals are planned for King Kamehameha III Elementary and Maunawili Elementary.
To participate in the Kōkua Our Schools program, principals are encouraged to contact Dolly Wong in the DOE Community Engagement Branch.