Monday, October 18, 2010

2010 Hawaii Outstanding Advocates for Children and Youth

Twelve outstanding advocates for children and youth and one outstanding parent friendly business were recognized today at a special luncheon held at Washington Place.

One of the recipients is one of our very own! Congratulations Rep. K. Mark Takai! In 2002, Rep. Takai discovered an obscure provision that has since helped to secure over $40 million in federal impact aid for the Dept. of Education. Rep. Takai also created a free internet-based program, Student Online Achievement Resources –SOAR, for Hawaii's children. This website focuses on math, reading and language arts.

(L-R) Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, Rep. K. Mark Takai, Tofi Mika, Jr, Rep. John Mizuno

2010 Outstanding Advocates for Children and Youth Recipients

Tofi Mika, Jr. co-founded a music and mentoring program called "Hope through music" that works with at-risk youth of public housing and a non-profit called "About Aloha without Borders," which helps needy youth in Cambodia and the Philippines. Both use music, art and photography to inspire and motivate children. Nominated by Joanne Tachibana.

Hawaii Electric Company has been a visionary youth and family leader in Hawaii, establishing the Astronaut "Lacy Veach Day of Discovery" to share the history and education of Astronaut Lacy Veach and the importance of caring for the precious islands. HECO has also initiated the Hawaii Robotics program, which led to Hawaii teams winning international championships and elevates Hawaii's youth in life skills, team work, problem solving, critical thinking and time management. Nominated by Art Kimura.

Project D.A.T.E. provides a series of social service fairs, offering free transportation for families coming from shelters around the island, to allow children to enjoy games, storytelling, and activities. It partners with service providers to assist the parents with housing information, employment and medical services. The organization also provides onsite children care and computer classes for education and employment purposes to properly assist the homeless. Project D.A.T.E. creates a positive support service through their friendship, guidance and support to help needy children and their families achieve independence. Nominated by Wenona Harris.

Margarette Pang is the founder of Dyslexia Tutoring Center of Hawaii, which provides essential skill services to children with dyslexia. The focus is on building self-esteem by working on easing the difficulty of reading, spelling, and handwriting for children with dyslexia. Nominated by Rep. Sharon Har.

Hawaii Youth Services Network is a coalition of youth-service organizations that works to improve the well-being of youth and strengthen  families and communities by providing leadership. HYSN recently secured a $5 million grant to work on Teen Pregnancy Prevention. Nominated by Jaque Kelley-Uyeoka.

Adopt–A-School Program – The Hawaii Jaycees are the organizers of Adopt-a-School, a statewide effort to bring needed attention and resources to Hawaii's schools. Since its inception in 2008, 12 schools were helped, in 2009 the number schools helped increased to 40, and in 2010 over 70 school improvement projects were planned. Participating organizations include civic clubs, local business, faith-based groups and non-profits working with a school's improvement wish list. Nominated by Sen. Norman Sakamoto.

Waikiki Health Center and Hale Kipa's Youth Outreach Program is a local non-profit sponsored by Waikiki Health Center and Hale Kipa. It is a drop-in center for homeless, runaway and street youth, which offers free meals, hot showers, clothing, internet access for employment and education, hygiene supplies and GED classes, vocational skills, job searching, and housing referrals. Nominated by Kiana Rivera.

Mary Vorsino is Honolulu Star Advertiser journalist and reporter. She is a well-respected and high-profile news reporter who has touched the lives of many in Hawaii with her empathy and passion, especially when featuring stories directly affecting Hawaii's youth on issues such as homelessness, domestic violence, violent crimes, healthcare, education, and safety issues for Hawaii's Keiki. Mary's stories are captivating and educational and displays compassion yet remains objective. Nominated by Alika Malabey.

Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Malakie has been the Senior Army Instructor for Kealakehe JROTC for the last 15 years. Under Lt. Colonel Malakie's direction, his cadets continue to secure scholarships to colleges nationwide. As a Scout Leader, Lt. Malakie received the District Award of Honor and the Silver Beaver Award, the highest award in the Aloha Council spanning the Pacific. For Boy Scouts, only 2% become Eagle Scouts, yet 95% of the Boy Scouts under Lt. Malakie's guidance become Eagle Scouts. Nominated by Rep. Cindy Evans.

Melanie Bailey is a mother of a public school student and an advocate for education. In the pass legislative session, Melanie was instrumental in passing HB2486, which mandates the days of school per year and gradually increases the hours of instructional time per day to be deemed in line with the rest of the nation. Nominated by Zsuzsa Bakonyi-Rodgers.

Melinda Mullis is a small business owner of Orange Roc, a marketing company based in Hawaii. Melinda donates her time and expertise to the Missing Child Center-Hawaii and created the Friends of the Missing Child Center-Hawaii website as a one-stop shop for information on missing children. Melinda also revised the Keiki ID Kit to maximize information about a child in the event that child goes missing. Nominated by Charlene Takeno.

2010 Outstanding Parent Friendly Business Award - Maui Family Support Service, Inc.

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