Local Briefs


Waihee Elementary School teacher Jeremy Percich and Humans Worldwide founder Karen Romero, aka “Miss Happy,” teamed up to teach a happiness-focused curriculum to Percich’s fourth grade students at the end of the school year. — KAREN ROMERO photo

In an effort to end an unconventional school year on a high note, Jeremy Percich, a fourth grade teacher at Waihe’e Elementary School, partnered with Maui-based organization Humans Worldwide last month to create a happiness-focused curriculum for his students.

The students learned how to explore, celebrate and share happiness and how to create happiness ripple effects. The curriculum included a guest speaker, “Miss Happy,” performed by Karen Romero, a local actor, educator and founder of Humans Worldwide.

After the presentation, students received “A smile for a smile” T-shirts and were tasked with finding ways to create their own happiness ripple effects. On the last day of school, they shared their happiness ripple effect ideas.

To learn more about Humans Worldwide, email 4humansworldwide@gmail.com.

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Trade group funds MEO for programs

The Construction Industry of Maui trade group has donated $1,500 to Maui Economic Opportunity for employment training programs, including the nonprofit’s effort to help reintegrate newly released inmates into the community.

This was the first year the trade group made a donation to a community organization.

The presentation was made on May 26 to Maui Economic Opportunity CEO Debbie Cabebe, Chief Operating Officer Gay Sibonga and Bishop Pahia, who runs the BEST (Being Empowered and Safe Together) program. BEST provides support services and training to prepare inmates for a successful return to the community. MEO also provides a comprehensive range of services and training to assist low-income and legal permanent residents to prepare for employment and to help them maintain employment once hired.

“MEO is so thankful for the gift from the Construction Industry of Maui,” Cabebe said. “Our BEST clients often are released from jail or prison with only the things they brought in with them. No money. No housing. No jobs. This donation can help recently released inmates, who have paid their debt to society, find employment and hopefully, prevent them from reoffending.”

For more information about MEO’s job training programs, call 249-2970 or email lee.imada@meoinc.org.

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Rotary scholarship deadline extended

The Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise has extended the deadline to apply for three $1,000 vocational scholarships to June 30.

The scholarships will help recipients pay for training in areas like agriculture, auto mechanics, welding, cosmetology or any trade or nonacademic occupation.

Applicants can be of any age and the training can include apprenticeships, hands-on learning or a variety of non-traditional formats. Students who plan to attend vocational training at a college or university or who are already enrolled are also eligible. Previous scholarship recipients can reapply for additional funding if they are still in a training program.

To apply, visit www.lahainasunriserotary.org or email thefarm@hawaii.rr.com.

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Ocean center offers summer program

Maui Ocean Center will offer a family-friendly summer program, Ocean Aloha, Go Green for Blue, starting Tuesday through Sept. 6.

Through the ongoing initiative, malama kekahi i kekahi (to take care of), Ocean Aloha is an island-based marine conservation program that further educates visitors and residents about the importance of caring for Maui’s natural resources.

“The Ocean Aloha initiative reminds each one of us that we must embrace and care for our natural resources, whether above or below the ocean surface. For generations, the Hawaiian culture has respected this invaluable connection,” said Maui Ocean Center General Manager Tapani Vuori. “At Maui Ocean Center, we are passionate advocates of marine conservation and our island sustainability. Each day we strive to build upon our eco-friendly initiatives and encourage our guests to do the same. By further teaching the value of nature and applying simple sustainability initiatives now, we support the growth of our future for generations.”

The program is designed for all ages and will feature outdoor presentations, demonstrations and interactive learning from cultural practitioners and team members.

For more information about the Ocean Aloha program, visit mauioceancenter.com/ocean-aloha.

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Land trust receives $106K for programs

Hawaii Land Trust recently received two grants from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs totaling $106,254 for programs and initiatives on Maui and Kauai from July 2021 through June 2022.

One of the grants will support iwi kupuna protection at Hawaii Land Trust’s 277-acre Waihe’e Coastal Dunes & Wetlands Refuge on Maui. The funding will support efforts to protect iwi kupuna from disinterment by restoring the native coastal ecosystem, empower Native Hawaiians to care for iwi, train Hawaii Land Trust staff and lineal descendants in the treatment and reinterment of iwi and ensure a secure temporary holding space for iwi until they can be properly reinterred.

“We are grateful for OHA’s support and dedication to community ‘aina stewardship as we work to permanently protect landscapes and provide ways for our communities to connect with ‘aina through education and care of cultural sites and iwi kupuna,” said Laura Kaakua, president and chief executive officer of Hawaii Land Trust.

As Hawaii’s statewide local nonprofit land trust, Hawaii Land Trust protects and stewards the lands that sustain Hawaii and teaches future generations to do the same. To date, it has protected more than 21,500 acres of land throughout Hawaii.

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